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Title: Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847
Author: Various
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847" ***

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    GROTE'S HISTORY OF GREECE.                               129
    BEN NEVIS AND BEN MUICH DHUI.                            149
          SUPERSTITIONS.--LETTER VII                         166
    JUANCHO THE BULL-FIGHTER.                                197
    THE EMERALD STUDS.                                       214
    CÆSAR.                                                   235

       *       *       *       *       *


The appearance of a new history of Greece, of the pretensions, and the
just pretensions, of this of Mr Grote, is an event in literature which
must not pass by without some note or comment. Never were historical
studies pursued with so much success, or in so philosophical a spirit,
as in the present day, and that by the whole corps of European
scholarship, whether German, or French, or English; and it is saying
much, when we say of the work before us, that it is equal to the demands
of the critical age in which it appears, and that in just estimate of
historical testimony, and in true appreciation of the spirit of past
times, it is as superior to its predecessors as, in these very points,
the nineteenth century is in advance of all preceding centuries.

The progress made in this department of study is very perceptible in the
several histories we possess of Greece. Mitford, notwithstanding his
acknowledged imperfections and demerits, has had the tribute of applause
paid to him, and deservedly, of having been the first to break through
that icy timidity with which the moderns were wont to write the annals
of ancient Greece. They seemed to be afraid of applying the knowledge
which time and science had brought them, to the events and writings of a
classical age and country, lest this should imply the presumption that
they were wiser than the ancients. They sat down to their task like
young scholars who are _construing_, not interpreting, their author.
Little discrimination was made between the learned writings before them.
If it was not, as it has been wittily observed, "all Greek, and
therefore all true," at least every thing that was Greek had a
mysterious air of learning which protected it from profane examination;
and incongruities and futilities, absurdities of reasoning, and
improbabilities of narrative, were veiled or half concealed under the
charm of Grecian typography. Mitford set aside this too great reverence
for the ancient literati. As he saw men, and not moving statues, in the
heroes of Grecian history, so he was persuaded that the writers of that
history were also men, fallible and prejudiced, like those who were
living and writing about him. But Mitford overcame one set of prejudices
by the force which prejudices of another kind had endowed him with. He
saw how party spirit had raged in modern as well as ancient times, but
he detected it with that proverbial readiness with which the thief
detects the thief; he wrote himself with the energy and penetration, the
want of candour and generosity, which at all times will distinguish the
advocate. Moreover, the scholarship of Europe has since his time assumed
so lofty a port, and taken such rapid strides, that on many subjects he
has been left lagging in the rear.

The history of Greece by Dr Thirlwall is a great improvement on its
predecessor. It is written with profounder learning, and a more
equitable spirit; and is indeed pre-eminently distinguished by the
calmness, candour, and judge-like serenity that pervades it. In a style
always lucid in disquisition, and always elegant in narrative, he
appears to be solely anxious to communicate the fair result, whatever it
may be, to which his extensive reading has conducted him. But,
unfortunately, Dr Thirlwall wrote his history in one of those
_transition states_ of mind which render impossible the accomplishment
of an enduring work. He saw the futility of much that had been relied on
as basis of historical belief; he was not disposed to credulity, nor at
all likely to accept fable, in its own simple and gross form, for truth.
But he had not taught himself to forego the vain attempt to extract
history out of fable; he could not relinquish that habit of "learned
conjecture," so dear to the scholar, so fatal to the historian. In the
earlier portion of his work, he constructs his narrative under the
singular disadvantage of one who sees perpetually the weakness of his
own superstructure, yet continues to build on; and thus, with much show
of scaffolding, and after much putting up and pulling down, he leaves at
last but little standing on the soil. He had not laid down for himself a
previous rule for determining what should be admitted as historical
evidence, or the rules he had prescribed for himself were of an
uncertain, fluctuating character. Neither do we discover in Dr Thirlwall
the faculty, existing at least in any eminent degree, of realising to
himself, or vividly representing to others, the intellectual condition
of a nascent people, far removed from ourselves in habits of thought,
and trained under quite different institutions, religious and political.
In short, we note a deficiency--(to adopt the phraseology of Bacon)--in
what we may be allowed to describe, as the more philosophical
qualifications of the historian.

Precisely in these lies the peculiar strength of Mr Grote. With
scholarship as extensive as that of his predecessors, he has united a
stricter discipline of mind, and habits of closer reasoning; and he
manifests a truer perception of the nature of past modes of thinking--of
the intellectual life of unlettered and Pagan ages. He has passed
through that _transition state_ in which Dr Thirlwall unfortunately
found himself, and has drawn with a firm hand the boundaries between
history and fable. Not only has he drawn the line, and determined the
principle on which the limits of the historical world should be marked
out, but he has had the fortitude to adhere to his own principles, and
has not allowed himself, in pursuit of some fragment of historic truth,
(many of which doubtless lie in a half-discovered state beyond the
circle he has drawn,) to transgress the boundary he has wisely
prescribed to himself. The history is not far enough advanced to enable
us to judge whether Mr Grote will preserve himself from a political
bias, the opposite of that which has been so much censured in Mitford. A
sufficient portion however, is published, to authorise us in saying that
it is not in point of _narrative_ that the present author will obtain
any advantage over his predecessors. It is in disquisition that he
rejoices, and succeeds; it is the argumentative matter which excites and
sustains him. His style seems to languish when the effort of
ratiocination gives place to the task of the narrator. We fancy we see
him resume the pen with listlessness, when nothing remains for the
historian but to tell his story.

Neither can we congratulate Mr Grote on possessing the art of
arrangement or compression, on the knowing when to abbreviate, or how to
omit. His subject has in itself this unavoidable disadvantage, that the
history of Greece lies scattered and broken up amongst many independent
cities and communities: this disadvantage our author's voluminous and
discursive manner does nothing to remedy, does much to aggravate. One
would almost suspect that Mr Grote had entertained the idea that it
belonged to the history of Greece to give us an account of all that the
Greeks knew of history. It seems sufficient that a subject has been
mentioned by Herodotus to entitle it to a place in his pages. This
fulness of matter, it may be said, will enrich the work. Very true. But
what if, in this process of enriching, the work be made unreadable?
What if the treasures be so piled up and heaped together that to get at
them may be little less difficult than to extract the precious metals
originally from the mine? If the work advance on the plan hitherto
pursued, it will be found that, "A History of Greece" is far too
restricted a title, and that it should rather have been called a history
of the ancient world during the times when the Greeks rose and
flourished;--so well disposed does the author appear to wander over to
Phoenicia and Assyria, to Babylon and Egypt. Mr Alison might as well
have entitled his great historical work simply a history of the French
Revolution. It is true, there is no reason to be given why Mr Grote
should not do for ancient Europe during the period of the development of
the Greeks, what Mr Alison has done for modern Europe during the great
drama enacted by the people of France. Unhappily, however, Mr Grote does
not possess those descriptive powers which, in the work of Mr Alison,
render the parts which are most episodical, invariably the most
interesting; so that, however important and eventful the main stream of
his narrative may be, a reader of Alison always delights to find the
author starting afresh from some remote era, on some distant soil, and
call willingly quit even Paris and her Revolution, to revisit with him
the rustic republics of Switzerland, or to build up Holland again from
the sea, or to call to life the people of Poland, and fill the plains
again with their strange military diet of a hundred thousand mounted

There is much of the philosopher, little of the artist, in Mr. Grote;
nor are the charms of style those which he has sedulously cultivated, or
by which he is anxious to obtain attention. He writes in a manly,
straightforward manner, and expresses his meaning with sufficient force
and perspicuity: but there is no sustained elegance of diction; there is
often all apparent disdain of it. At least we meet occasionally with
quite conversational expressions, introduced--not, be it remarked, with
that dexterous ease and felicitous taste which render them so effective
in compositions of the highest order--but bluntly, carelessly, as if
they were verily the first that came to hand, and the author did not
think it worth his while to look for others. It should be mentioned,
however, that this inequality of style is partly the effect of a desire
to keep as close as possible in his narrative to the original Greek, so
that it is the crudeness of _translation_ we sometimes encounter. We
raise no quarrel with him ourselves on this point; his language, in
general, is all that is requisite; but a critic disposed to be severe on
the minor delinquencies of style, might justify his censure by
extracting many a hasty and neglected sentence, and many all uncouth
expression. In fine, we accept of the present work as a valuable
contribution to the history of Greece, and to the science itself of
history; we accept it as a manifest improvement upon its predecessors in
some of the highest and most important elements of historical
composition; but we by no means accept it as _the_ History of Greece, as
the final narrative of the people of Athens and Sparta. For this it is
too polemical, diffuse, incondite. On the ground which this writer and
others have been obliged to contend for, which they have conquered and
cleared, our posterity will one day, it is to be hoped, see a structure
arise--grand, and simple, and yet ornate. For if the fitness of things
be a rule for our expectation, we may safely prophesy that some future
age will possess a History of Greece which will be to all other
histories what the Grecian temple is to all other temples; which shall
be itself a temple worthy of the memory of the most extraordinary people
that have yet appeared upon the earth.

Mr Grote has done in the history of Greece what Dr Arnold did in that of
Rome: he has at once excluded the early legends entirely from the class
of historical records. The outcry which we sometimes hear against that
scepticism which has resulted from later and more severe investigations
into the nature of historical evidence, and the loss thereby sustained
of many a popular tale, is--need we insist upon it?--mere childishness.
It is never found that we lose any thing by truth, and certainly not
here. The popular tale, legend, or myth, may be displaced entirely from
the records of the past, (for what it contains, or may be supposed to
contain, of fact or event;) but it remains with us in its true character
of fable, as the offspring of the teeming invention and the ready faith
of an unlettered generation; and, in this character, is more thoroughly
understood by our present race of thinkers, and more vividly
appreciated, than it ever was before. But shall we believe _nothing_ of
it?--surely something, must be true,--is the whole legend to be lost? To
such exclamations we answer, that the whole legend, instead of being
lost, is regained, is restored to us. While you doubt of its true
nature, and strive to make it speak the language of history, you can
never see the legend itself,--never clearly understand it,--never gather
from it the curious knowledge it is able to reveal of our own species.
If, instead of looking askance at the bold inventions of past times,
with a half faith and a half denial, busied with tricks of
interpretation, and teased with ever-recurring incredulity, you embrace
it cordially as the genuine product of an imaginative age, redolent of
the marvellous, you will, as such, gather from it a far higher and more
profitable instruction than could be extracted from some supposed
historic fact which it is thought to conceal, and which is received as
credible on the very ground that it resembles a host of similar facts
already well established.

We heartily approve and applaud the resolute abstinence with which Mr
Grote has refrained from seeking for some supposed historical basis in
mere legend and fable; we believe that his work, in this point of view,
is calculated to have an excellent influence, not only on all future
historians of Greece, but on all who shall undertake to write the early
history of any people whatever. With the exception of Dr Arnold's
History of Rome, we know of no work where there is the same true
appreciation shown of the real value, and proper use, of legendary
traditions. Certainly amongst the great scholars of Germany, whatever
their undoubted merits in other respects, there is very little of this
wise reticence, this philosophical forbearance; and if the two English
historians, whom we have named together, be surpassed in critical
knowledge by the learned men of Germany, or in brilliant narrative by
the writers of France, they are superior to their contemporaries in both
countries in the sound application of learning to ancient history, and
their attachment to the sobriety of truth. With much less show of
philosophic _system_, they have more of philosophy.

"The times which I have thus set apart," writes Mr Grote, in his
preface, "from the region of history, are discernible only through a
different atmosphere--that of epic poetry and legend. To confound
together these disparate matters is, in my judgment, essentially
unphilosophical. I describe the earlier times by themselves, as
conceived by the faith and feeling of the first Greek, and known only
through their legends,--without presuming to measure how much or how
little of historical matter these legends may contain. If the reader
blame me for not assisting him to determine this,--if he ask me why I do
not undraw the curtain and disclose the picture,--I reply in the words
of the painter Zeuxis, when the same question was addressed to him, on
exhibiting his master-piece of imitative art--'The curtain _is_ the
picture.' What we now read as poetry and legend was once accredited
history, and the only genuine history which the first Greeks could
conceive or relish of their past time: the curtain conceals nothing
behind, and cannot by any ingenuity be withdrawn. I undertake only to
show it as it stands,--not to efface, still less to repaint it."

A simple uninstructed age believes its own legend; it asks no question
upon the point of credibility; with such an age, to hear, is to believe.
Originally, indeed, with all of us, to have a conception of any thing is
tantamount to believing that it exists, or has existed: belief is no
separate act of mind, but is itself included in the perception or the
thought; it is experience and reflection which have to ingraft their
_disbelief_, and teach us that every thing we _think_ is not equally
_true_. An ignorant people are all children, and with them there is but
one rule of faith: the more vivid the impression, the stronger the
belief,--the more marvellous the story, the less possibility of doubting
it. And consider this--that we, owing to our scientific habits of
thought, and the long record of the by-gone world which lies open to us,
entertain it as a general law, that the past has, in certain essentials,
resembled the present; but our unlettered people, looking out into the
blank foretime, would have no such law to regulate or restrain their
belief. On the contrary, their impression would naturally be, that the
past was, essentially different from the present, or why was it _past_?
Why all this change and transiency, if the same things were to be
repeated? All people that have had no records have filled up the void
with beings and events as unlike as possible to those they were familiar
with. They had a prevailing impression that that blank space was the
region of the wonderful; and the day-dreamer, the imaginative man, who
was, naturally enough, proclaimed to be inspired, since none could tell
how his knowledge came, was generally at hand to fill up the blank space
with appropriate picture.

An age of awakening criticism begins to find the legend doubtful--cannot
entirely believe, cannot entirely dismiss the old familiar
story,--begins to interpret it as allegory, or to separate the probable
incidents from the improbable, receiving the first, rejecting the
second. A new rule of faith has been introduced; not what is most
captivating and strange, but what best harmonises with the common
occurrences of life, is to be the most readily believed. The exuberant
legend is therefore pruned down and mutilated, or it is represented as
the fantastic shadow of some quite natural circumstance,--strange shadow
for such substance!--and in this state it is admitted to a certain
credence. But who sees not that this is no separation of history from
fable, but merely a reduction of the fable into something we can
pronounce to be probable? But the probability of this residue is no
sufficient ground for our belief; no one, surely, supposes that
imagination deals in nothing but impossibilities. The utmost effort, the
wildest flight of fancy, could not always keep clear of probability; and
it would be strange indeed if the romantic fiction could claim our faith
at every point where, by chance, it had touched the earth. One might as
well sift, in the same manner, a fiction of the Arabian Nights; and,
setting aside the supernatural, admit whatever is natural to be true.
The wonderful properties of Aladdin's lamp shall be given up; but that
Aladdin had an old lamp, and that his wife sold it when he was out of
the way, this shall remain admissible.

A third age, however, arrives, still more critical, more justly and
profoundly analytic. It recognises that, by the process just described,
a dead residuum of little value and doubtful reality is the utmost that
can be obtained, While the real value of the subject of this untutored
chemistry has been lost in the experiment. It returns to the
legend--contemplates it in its entire, and genuine form. It sees that
the legend is the true history of the minds that created and believed
it--a very important history--but of little or nothing else. Seen in
this light, there is, indeed, no comparison between the value of the
poetic fable as a contribution to the history of mankind, and the value
of the prosaic and ordinary fact which a half critical age (if sure of
its _guess_) would extract from it. Think for a moment of all the
marvels of the Argonautic expedition; that vessel, itself sentient and
intelligent, having its prophet as well as pilot on board, darting
through rocks which move and join together, like huge pincers, to crush
the passing ship; think of the wondrous Medea who conducted the homeward
voyage, and reflect upon the sort of people who created and credited all
these marvels. Then turn to the semi-critical version of Strabo, where
the whole expedition resolves itself into an invasion of some unknown
king, of some unknown country, whose wealth stands typified in the
golden fleece. Such writers as Strabo commit a two-fold error. They
corrupt history, and they destroy the legend. They write an unauthorised
narrative, and explain the nature and genius of the fable in a manner
equally unauthorised.

Or take an instance still more familiar. The legend tells us that
Romulus--as was thought befitting the founder of Rome--died in no
ordinary manner, but was translated to the skies. He had called the
people together on the field of Mars, "when," in the simple language
which Dr Arnold has appropriated to these legendary stories--"when all
on a sudden there arose a dreadful storm, and all was dark as night; and
the rain, and the thunder, and the lightning, were so terrible that all
the people fled from the field, and ran to their homes. At last the
storm was over, and they came back to the field of Mars, but Romulus was
nowhere to be found, for Mars, his father, had carried him up to heaven
in his chariot." Dionysius the Greek found, in this mysterious
disappearance, a proof of the assassination of Romulus by certain of his
nobles, who stabbed him and conveyed him away in the thunder-storm. And
our own Hooke thought himself equally sagacious, in his day, when he
adopted this interpretation. But what is it that we have here? Not
history certainly; and as little an intelligent view of the fable.

What Hooke did, in his day, occasionally, and in an empirical manner,
some German literati have attempted in a quite systematic, _a priori_
fashion. They first determine that the myth or legend has been composed
by a certain play of the imagination--as the representing the history of
a people, or a tribe, under the personal adventures of an imaginary
being; and then they hope to unravel this work of the fancy, and get
back again the raw material of plain truth. If they are partially
correct in describing this to have been _one_ course the imagination
pursued--which is all that can be admitted--still the attempt is utterly
hopeless to recover, in its first shape, what has been confessedly
disguised and distorted. The naturalists of Laputa were justified in
supposing that the light of the sun had much to do with the growth of
gerkins, but it does not follow that they would succeed in their project
of "extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers."

For the _briefest_ illustration we can call to mind of this
philosophical ingenuity, we will refer the reader to Michelet's preface
to his History of Rome. We see the absurdity none the worse for it being
presented through the transparent medium of the French writer. He thus
explains the discovery of the learned Germans whom he follows:--"Ce
qu'il y a de plus original, c'est d'avoir prouvé que ces fictions
historiques étaient une necéssité de notre nature. L'humanité d'abord
matérielle et grossière, ne pouvait dans les langues encore toutes
concrètes, exprimer la pensée abstraite, qu'en la réalisant, en lui
donnant un corps, une personalité humaine, un nom propre. Le même besoin
do simplification, si naturel à la faiblesse, fit aussi désigner une
collection d'individus par un nom d'homme. Cet homme mythique, ce fils
de la pensée populaire, exprima à la fois le peuple et l'idée du peuple.
Romulus c'était la force, et le peuple de la force; Juda, l'élection
divine et le peuple élu."

Having thus expounded the theory of the construction of a myth, he
afterwards tries his hand upon the resolution of one into its
constituent elements. The fourth chapter of his introduction commences
thus:--"Circé, dit Hésiode, (_Theog._ v. 1111, 1115) eut d'Ulysse deux
fils, Latinos et Agrios (le barbare,) qui au fond des saintes îles
gouvenèrent la race célèbre des Tyrséniens. J'enterprèterais volontiers
ce passage de la manière suivante: Des Pelasges, navigateurs et
magiciens, (c'est-à-dire, industrieux) sortirent les deux grandes
sociétés Italiennes--les _Osci_, (dont les Latins sont une tribu,) et
les Tusci ou Etrusques. Circé, fille du soleil, a tous les caractères
d'une Telchine Pélasgique. Le poete nous la montre près d'un grand feu,
rarement utile dans un pays chaud, si ce n'est pour un but industriel;
elle file la toile, ou prépare de puissants breuvages."

The theory and the application, it will be seen, are worthy of each
other. All comment would be superfluous. We have preferred to retain the
original language for this, amongst other reasons, that we should have
found it difficult to represent in honest English the exact degree of
affirmation to which the Frenchman pledges himself by his
"j'enterpreterais volontiers." It is something less than conviction, and
something more than guess;--it certainly should be, or it ought to have
no place in history.

It is not by mangling the legend, or by predicating of it fantastic
modes of construction, that the few grains of sober fact concealed about
it are to be secured; but by studying honestly the laws of imagination
under which all fabulous narratives are constructed. However wildly the
fancy may range in the main events of a fable, there will be always a
certain portion of the details gathered from real life; and the manners
and morals of an age may be depicted in fictions, the substance of which
is altogether supernatural. The heroes fight like gods, but they dine
and dress like ordinary mortals. Achilles drags the body of Hector three
times round the walls of Troy, both armies looking on the while. Such
sight the earth never beheld. But the ear of the warrior and the harness
of his steeds resembled such as had been seen or heard of. The poet
invents a centaur, but not the bow and arrow he puts into his hands. His
hero scales the sky, but carries with him the sandal on his foot which
was made in the village below.

"Three-fourths of the two volumes now presented to the public,"
continues Mr Grote in his preface, "are destined to elucidate this age
of historical faith as distinguished from the later age of historical
reason: to exhibit its basis in the human mind--an omnipresent religious
and personal interpretation of nature; to illustrate it by comparison
with the like mental habit in early modern Europe; to show its immense
abundance and variety of narrative matter, with little care for
consistency between one story and another; lastly, to set forth the
causes which overgrew, and partially supplanted the old epical
sentiment, and introduced, in the room of literal faith, a variety of
compromises and interpretations." This is the just application of the
legends of Greece, forming, as they do, the very best description of the
people whose exploits and career the author is about to narrate. This is
a truer commencement of the history than that which appears at first
sight more strictly historical--namely, an investigation into the
obscure tribes which inhabited the same country prior to that people who
are known to us as Greeks--an investigation that is to be carried on by
strained interpretations of these very legends. We congratulate both
author and reader on this escape from the fruitless entanglement of the
Pelasgian controversy. Mr Grote seems to have taken due warning from the
difficulties and embarrassments in which his predecessor has here
involved himself. Dr Thirlwall is a judicious, a succinct, and lucid
writer, and yet a more tedious, confused, and utterly unsatisfactory
piece of history no man can read than the account he gives us, in his
opening volume, of the Pelasgians. The subject is clearly hopeless. From
the first sentence to the last of that account, a painful confusion
attends upon the reader--not the fault, we are ready to believe, of the
historian, unless it be a fault to attempt a statement of facts where
the materials for such a statement do not exist. "The people"--Dr
Thirlwall thus commences--"whom we call Greeks--the Hellenes--were not,
_at least under this name_, the first inhabitants of Greece. Many names
have been recorded of races that preceded them there, which they in
later times considered barbarous, or foreign in language and manners to
themselves." Here the very first sentence proclaims a doubt how far the
change was one of race or only of name, and this doubt pursues us
throughout the whole inquiry. It is never solved by the author, but is
sometimes _forgotten_ by him; for he occasionally proceeds with the
discussion as if he had left no such doubt behind him undetermined. At
one time he states distinctly, "we find that though in early times
Thessaly, and the north of Greece in general, was the scene of frequent
migrations and revolutions so that its ancient inhabitants may here and
there have been completely displaced by new tribes, Attica appears never
to have undergone such a change; and Peloponnesus lost no considerable
part of its original population till long after the whole had become
Hellenic." (P. 54.) Herodotus had said that certain Pelasgians living in
his time spoke a language different from the Greeks. Dr Thirlwall puts
the passage of Herodotus upon the rack to extract from it a confession
that the difference was not greater than between one dialect of Greek
from another. Yet, as the narrative proceeds--if narrative it can be
called--we have the Pelasgians and the Greeks represented as essentially
distinct people; and we hear of the difficulty of determining "the
precise point of civilisation to which the Pelasgians had advanced,
before the Greeks overtook and outstripped them." The whole treatise,
notwithstanding the air of decision now and then assumed, is but an
amplification of the doubt implied in the very first sentence of it.

The legends which fill up the dark space with _eponymous_ heroes, as
they have been called--heroes who take the name of a tribe in order to
bestow it back upon the tribe; for it was the Greek mode of thinking at
these early periods to presume that every tribe, or _gens_, had a common
progenitor from whom it took its title and origin,--these legends are at
one time treated with the due suspicion which should attend upon them;
yet, at another, if a fortunate congruity, some lucky "dovetailing," can
be observed amongst them, they are raised into the rank of historical
evidence. The mode of interpretation which we have described as
characterising the first and undisciplined age of critical inquiry, is
not laid aside. Such personages as Danaus and Aeolus are still referred
to on emergency; and Dr Thirlwall still speaks of the Centaurs as "a
fabulous race, which, however, may be supposed to represent the earlier
and ruder inhabitants of the land." If we must call in the Centaurs to
our assistance, we may safely conclude with Mr Grote that the ancient
Pelasgians are "not knowable."

"Whoever," writes our author, when the course of his narrative brings
him to speak of the anti-Hellenic tribes--"Whoever has examined the many
conflicting systems respecting the Pelasgi--from the literal belief of
Clavier, Larcher, and Raoul Rochette, (which appears to me at least the
most consistent way of proceeding,) to the interpretative and
half-incredulous processes applied by abler men--such as Niebuhr, or O.
Müller, or Dr Thirlwall--will not be displeased with my resolution to
decline so insoluble a problem. No attested facts are now present to
us--none were present to Herodotus and Thucydides even in their age, on
which to build trustworthy affirmations respecting the anti-Hellenic
Pelasgians; and where such is the case we may without impropriety apply
the remark of Herodotus respecting one of the theories which he had
heard for explaining the inundation of the Nile by a supposed connexion
with the ocean--that the man who carries up his story into the invisible
world, passes out of the range of criticism."[2] And he adds the
following pithy note:--"Niebuhr puts together all the mythical and
genealogical traces, many of them in the highest degree vague and
equivocal, of the existence of Pelasgi in various localities; and then,
summing up their cumulative effect, asserts, 'not as an hypothesis, but
with full historical conviction, that there was a time when the
Pelasgians, perhaps the most extended people in all Europe, were spread
from the Po and the Arno to the Rhyndakus,' (near Cyzicus,) with only an
interruption in Thrace. What is perhaps the most remarkable of all, is
the contrast between his feeling of disgust, despair, and aversion to
the subject when he begins the inquiry:--'the name Pelasgi,' he says,
'is odious to the historian, who hates the spurious philology out of
which the pretences to knowledge on the subject of such extinct people
arise;' and the full confidence and satisfaction with which he concludes

Amongst these legends which Mr Grote thus relates for the simple purpose
of showing what filled the minds of the Greek people when we first
become historically acquainted with them, is one conspicuous above all
others, and to which most men still cling tenaciously, finding it
impossible to resign _all_ of it to the region of fable--we mean "the
divine tale of Troy." Many who relinquish without effort the Argonautic
expedition, and as an historical problem are glad to be rid of it,--who
resign all attempt to extract a prosaic truth out of the exploits of
Theseus or the labours of Hercules, and who smile at mention of the race
of Amazons--a race so well accredited in ancient times that neither the
sceptical Arrian nor Julius Cæsar himself ventured to doubt of their
existence--would yet shrink from surrendering the tale of Troy, with all
its military details, and all its hosts, and all its kings and
chieftains, entirely to the domain of fiction. What! No part of it
true?--no Agamemnon?--no Ulysses?--no Troy taken?--no battles on that
plain where the traveller still traces the position of the hostile
forces? "Those old kings," they might exclaim in the language of Milton,
when writing in his history of that fabulous line of English monarchs
which sprang from Brute the Trojan--in his time still lingering in men's
faith, now suffered to sleep unvexed by the keenest historical
research,--"Those old and inborn kings, never any to have been real
persons, or done in their lives at least some part of what so long hath
been remembered--_it cannot be thought_, without too strict

Nevertheless the whole narrative, were it not for the familiarity we
early acquire with the persons and exploits of this famous legend, would
be seen at once to have all the characteristics of poetic fiction. And
it is curious to trace, with our author, how, after having long stood
its ground as veritable history amongst the people of Greece, it
sustained attack after attack, first from ancient then from modern
criticism, and has been gradually denuded of all its glorious
circumstance, till now, even for those who are most willing to believe,
there remains the driest, scantiest residue imaginable of what may be
pronounced to be probable fact. Herodotus, with all his veneration for
Homer, could not assent to attribute the Trojan war to the cause
popularly assigned: he seems to have been of the opinion of our Payne
Knight, that the Greeks and Trojans could not have been so mad as to
incur so dire calamities "for one little woman." We confess that, for
ourselves, this is not the part of the story which would have first
staggered us. The immediate cause may be very trifling that brings two
angry rivals into conflict, and, the war once commenced, they fight on
for victory; the first object of the strife is forgotten in the strife
itself, and each opponent thinks only how to destroy his enemy.
Herodotus, however, had heard another account from the priests of Egypt,
which made him still more disposed to dispute the popular tradition.
According to this account, Helen was in fact detained in Egypt during
the whole term of the siege. Paris, it seems, in sailing from Sparta,
had been driven thither by a storm; and the king of Egypt, hearing of
the wrong he had committed towards Menelaus, had sent him out of the
country, and detained Helen till her lawful husband should appear to
claim her. The misfortune was, that when the Greeks before Troy demanded
Helen, and were told that she neither was, nor had been in the town,
they would not believe the story, but continued to thunder at the gates.
"For if Helen had really been in Troy," says Herodotus, "she would
certainly have been given up, even if she had been mistress of Priam
himself instead of Paris: the Trojan king, with all his family and all
his subjects, would never knowingly have incurred utter and
irretrievable destruction for the purpose of retaining her; their
misfortune was, that while they did not possess, and therefore could not
restore her, they yet found it impossible to convince the Greeks that
such was the fact."

Pausanias, a reasoning man, starts at the Trojan horse: he converts it
into a battering-ram, as he cannot believe the Trojans to have been
deceived by so childish a trick.

Thucydides, a man who knew something of campaigning, is astonished at
the length of the siege; and perhaps his patriotism was put a little to
the blush at the idea that the assembled forces of Greece should be
occupied ten years before a town of very inconsiderable magnitude; for
no town of Ilium, we may remark in passing, ever existed that could
present a worthy object of attack to so great a power, or was at all
commensurate with the vast enterprise said to have been directed against
it. He concluded, therefore, without hesitation, "that the Greeks were
less numerous than the poets have represented, and that being, moreover,
very poor, they were unable to procure adequate and constant provisions:
hence they were compelled to disperse their army, and to employ a part
of it in cultivating the Chersonese, and a part in marauding expeditions
over the neighbourhood. Could the whole army have been employed against
Troy at once, the siege would have been much more speedily and easily
concluded." As Mr Grote justly observes, the critical historian might,
with equal authority, have proceeded by a shorter method, and at once
abridged the length of the siege.

"Though literally believed," he continues, speaking of the Trojan war,
"though reverentially cherished, and numbered among the gigantic
phenomena of the past, by the Grecian public, it is in the eyes of
modern inquiry essentially a legend, and nothing more. If we are asked
if it be not a legend embodying portions of historical matter, and
raised upon a basis of truth,--whether there may not really have
occurred at the foot of the hill of Ilium a war purely human and
political, without gods, without heroes, without Helen, without Amazons,
without Ethiopians under the beautiful son of Eos, without the wooden
horse, without the characteristic and expressive features of the old
epical war--like the mutilated trunk of Deïphobus in the under-world--if
we are asked whether there was not really some such historical Trojan
war as this, our answer must be, that as the possibility of it cannot be
denied, so neither can the reality of it be affirmed. We possess nothing
but the ancient epic itself, without any independent evidence: had it
been an age of records, indeed, the Homeric epic, in its exquisite and
unsuspecting simplicity, would probably never have come into existence.
Whoever, therefore, ventures to dissect Homer, Arctinus, and Lesches,
and to pick out certain portions as matters of fact, while he sets aside
the rest as fiction, must do so in full reliance on his own powers of
historical divination, without any means either of proving or verifying
his conclusions."[4]

Take Helen from Troy, and Achilles son of Thetis from the camp, and say
there was _a_ siege--this is a result which few, perhaps, would care to
contend about. It is the only result for which Dr Thirlwall contends,
who on this subject approximates as nearly as possible to the opinion of
Mr Grote. That there was a siege, however, Dr Thirlwall maintains with
considerable pertinacity; but it happens, curiously enough, that his
argument precisely supplies the last link that was wanting to complete
the sceptical view of the subject. Most persons, we apprehend, are
disposed to adhere to the belief that some famous siege must have taken
place, or why should the poet's imagination take this direction?--why
should he cluster his heroes and his exploits round the walls of Troy?
Now, the effect of Dr Thirlwall's line of argument is to show how the
poet's imagination was likely to take this direction, and yet there have
been no siege of Troy, none at least by Agamemnon and his allies, none
at the epoch which Homer assigns to it.

"We conceive it necessary," says Dr Thirlwall, "to admit the reality of
the Trojan war as a general fact; but beyond this we scarcely venture to
proceed a single step."[5] He finds it impossible to adopt the poetical
story of its origin, partly from its inherent improbability, and partly
"because we are convinced that Helen is a merely mythological person. It
would be sufficient," he says, "to raise a strong suspicion of her
fabulous nature to observe that she is classed by Herodotus with Io, and
Europa, and Medea--all of them persons who, on distinct grounds, must
clearly be referred to the domain of mythology. This suspicion is
confirmed by all the particulars of her legend; by her birth, (the
daughter of Jupiter, according to Homer;) by her relation to the divine
Twins, whose worship seems to have been one of the most ancient forms of
religion in Peloponnesus, and especially in Laconia; and by the divine
honours paid to her in Laconia and elsewhere."

Compelled to reject the cause of the war assigned by Homer, and finding
Helen a merely mythological person, "we are driven," he continues, "to
conjecture to discover the true cause; yet not so as to be wholly
without traces to direct us." He then refers to the legend which,
numbering Hercules among the Argonauts, supposes him, on the voyage, to
have rendered a service to the Trojan king Laomedon, who afterwards
defrauded him of his stipulated recompense. Whereupon Hercules, coming
with some seven ships, is said to have taken and sacked Troy; an event
which is alluded to and recognised by Homer. "And thus we see," adds the
author, "Troy already provoking the enmity or tempting the cupidity of
the Greeks, in the generation before the celebrated war; and it may be
easily conceived that if its power and opulence revived after this blow,
it might again excite the same feelings."

Very easily conceived, but not rendered a jot more easy by aid of this
legend of Hercules. The story of him of the Twelve Labours, who had been
cheated of the divine mares for which he had bargained, and had mere
earthly mares given to him, and who therefore, in revenge, had sacked
the town of Troy, is, in the first place, so interpreted as to show
"that the opulence of that city had in former times tempted the cupidity
of the Greeks;" and then this interpretation is made a ground for
supposing that a similar motive had led to the expedition of Agamemnon
and his chiefs. As well, surely, have said at once of the second war,
what is said of the first, that it was an ordinary case of plunder and
violence. It is hard to understand how the earlier legend can assist in
giving an historical character to the later.

But the elder legend may assist in explaining how a siege of Troy became
the great subject of the Homeric poems; and thus, whatever there was of
actual siege may be carried altogether into that remote anterior epoch
which is shadowed forth, if you will, under the exploits of Hercules.
For with that charming candour by which he often contrives to neutralise
the errors of his conjectural method of writing history, Dr Thirlwall
himself adds:--"This expedition of Hercules may indeed suggest a doubt
_whether it was not an earlier and simpler form of the same tradition,
which grew at length into the argument of the Iliad_; for there is a
striking resemblance between the two wars, not only in the events, but
in the principal actors. As the prominent figures in the second siege
are Agamemnon and Achilles, who represent the royal house of Mycenae, and
that of the Aeacids; so in the first the Argive Hercules is accompanied
by the Aeacid Telamon; and even the quarrel and reconciliation of the
allied chiefs are features common to both traditions."[6]

The disquisition on the legend of Troy naturally leads the historian,
and will naturally suggest to our own readers, the mooted question of
the authorship of the Homeric poems. Some of them be happy to learn that
the opinion of Mr Grote is not of so sceptical a nature as they may
have been prepared to expect. The Wolfian hypothesis he by no means
adopts--namely, that before the time of Pisistratus, there was no such
thing in existence as an extended and entire epic, but that the two
great epics we now possess were then constructed by stringing together a
number of detached poems, the separate chants of the old Greek bards or
rhapsodists. Mr Grote sees in the _Odyssey_ all the marks of unity of
design, and of what he rather quaintly calls "single-headed authorship."
With regard to the _Iliad_, he admits that there is not the same
stringent evidence of an original plan according to which the whole poem
has been written, and he detects here the signs of interpolation and
addition. According to his view, there is in the poem, as we possess it,
an original whole, which he calls the Achilleïs, to which additions have
been made from other sources, converting the Achilleïs into an Iliad.
But our readers would prefer to have the words themselves of the author;
and the following passage will present them with a very intelligent view
of this famous controversy:--

     "That the _Iliad_ is not so essentially one piece as the _Odyssey_,
     every man agrees. It includes a much greater multiplicity of
     events, and what is yet more important, a greater multiplicity of
     prominent personages: the very indefinite title which it bears, as
     contrasted with the speciality of the name _Odyssey_, marks the
     difference at once. The parts stand out more conspicuously from the
     whole, and admit more readily of being felt and appreciated in
     detached recitation. We may also add, that it is of more unequal
     execution than the _Odyssey-_-often rising to a far higher pitch of
     grandeur, but also occasionally tamer: the story does not move on
     continually; incidents occur without plausible motive, nor can we
     shut our eyes to evidences of incoherence and contradiction.

     "To a certain extent, the _Iliad_ is open to all these remarks,
     though Wolf and W. Müller, and above all, Lachmann, exaggerate the
     case in degree. And from hence has been deduced the hypothesis
     which treats the part in their original state as separate integers,
     independent of, and unconnected with each other, and forced into
     unity only by the afterthought of a subsequent age; or sometimes
     not even themselves as integers, but as aggregates grouped together
     out of fragments still smaller--short epics formed by the
     coalescence of still shorter songs. Now there is some plausibility
     in these reasonings, so long as the _discrepancies_ are looked upon
     as the whole of the case. But in point of fact they are not the
     whole of the case; for it is not less true that there are large
     portions of the _Iliad_, which present positive and undeniable
     evidences of _coherence_, as antecedent and consequent, though we
     are occasionally perplexed by inconsistencies of detail. To deal
     with these latter, is a portion of the duties of a critic; but he
     is not to treat the _Iliad_ as if inconsistency prevailed every
     where throughout its parts; for coherence of parts--symmetrical
     antecedence and consequence--is discernible throughout the larger
     half of the poem.

     "Now the Wolfian theory explains the gaps and contradictions
     throughout the narrative, but it explains nothing else. If (as
     Lachmann thinks) the _Iliad_ originally consisted of sixteen songs
     or little substantive epics, not only composed by different
     authors, but by each without any view to conjunction with the
     rest--we have then no right to expect any intrinsic continuity
     between them; and all that continuity which we now find must be of
     extraneous origin. Where are we to look for the origin? Lachmann
     follows Wolf in ascribing the whole constructive process to
     Peisistratus and his associates, at the period when the creative
     epical faculty is admitted to have died out. But upon this
     supposition, Peisistratus (or his associate) must have done much
     more than omit, transpose, and interpolate, here and there; he must
     have gone far to re-write the whole poem. A great poet might have
     re-cast pre-existing separate songs into one comprehensive whole,
     but no mere arrangers or compilers would be competent to do so; and
     we are thus left without any means of accounting for that degree of
     continuity and consistency which runs through so large a portion of
     the _Iliad_, though not through the whole. The idea that the poem
     as we read it grew out of atoms, not originally designed for the
     places which they now occupy, involves us in new and inextricable
     difficulties when we seek to elucidate either the mode of
     coalescence or the degree of existing unity.

     "Admitting, then, premeditated adaptation of parts to a certain
     extent as essential to the _Iliad_, we may yet inquire whether it
     was produced all at once or gradually enlarged--whether by one
     author or by several; and, if the parts be of different age, which
     is the primitive kernel, and which are the additions?

     "Welcker, Lange, and Nitzeh, treat the Homeric poems as
     representing a second step in advance in the progress of popular
     poetry: First comes the age of short narrative songs; next, when
     these have become numerous, there arise constructive minds who
     re-cast and blend together many of them into a larger aggregate,
     conceived upon some scheme of their own. The age of the epos is
     followed by that of the epopee: short spontaneous effusions prepare
     the way, and furnish materials for the architectonic genius of the
     poet. It is farther presumed by the above-mentioned authors that
     the pre-Homeric epic included a great abundance of such smaller
     songs--a fact which admits of no proof, but which seems
     countenanced by some passages in Homer, and is in itself no way
     improbable. But the transition from such songs, assuming them to be
     ever so numerous, to a combined and continuous poem, forms an epoch
     in the intellectual history of a nation, implying mental qualities
     of a higher order than those upon which the songs themselves
     depend. Nor is it at all to be imagined that the materials pass
     unaltered from their first state of combination: they must of
     necessity be re-cast, and undergo an adapting process, in which the
     genius of the organising poet consists; and we cannot hope, by
     simply knowing them as they exist in the second stage, ever to
     divine how they stood in the first. Such, in my judgment, is the
     right conception of the Homeric epoch--an organising poetical mind,
     still preserving that freshness of observation and vivacity of
     details which constitutes the charm of the ballad.

     "Nothing is gained by studying the Iliad as a congeries of
     fragments once independent of each other: no portion of the poem
     can be shown to have ever been so, and the supposition introduces
     difficulties greater than those which it removes. But it is not
     necessary to affirm that the whole poem, as we now read it,
     belonged to the original and preconceived plan. In this respect the
     _Iliad_ produces upon my mind an impression totally different from
     the _Odyssey._ In the latter poem the characters and incidents are
     fewer; the whole plot appears of one projection, from the beginning
     down to the death of the suitors: none of the parts look as if they
     had been composed separately, and inserted by way of addition into
     a pre-existing smaller poem. But the _Iliad_, on the contrary,
     presents the appearance of a house built upon a plan comparatively
     narrow, and subsequently enlarged by successive additions. The
     first book, together with the eighth, and the books from the
     eleventh to the twenty-second inclusive, seem to form the primary
     organisation of the poem, then properly an _Achilleïs_: the
     twenty-third and twenty-fourth books are additions at the tail of
     this primitive poem, which still leave it nothing more than an
     enlarged _Achilleïs_: but the books from the second to the seventh
     inclusive, together with the tenth, are of a wider and more
     comprehensive character, and convert the poem from an _Achilleïs_
     into an _Iliad_. The primitive frontispiece, inscribed with the
     anger of Achilles and its direct consequences, yet remains, after
     it has ceased to be co-extensive with the poems. The parts added,
     however, are not necessarily inferior in merit to the original
     poem: so far is this from being the case, that amongst them are
     comprehended some of the noblest efforts of the Grecian
     epic."--(Vol. ii. p. 230.)

To many persons the undisputed fact that the Homeric poems were composed
to be recited, not read, has appeared a convincing proof that they could
not have originally assumed the form in which they are known to us. For
setting aside the difficulty of preserving by the aid only of memory,
and the still greater difficulty of _composing_ a long poem without help
of the manuscript, to keep _secure_ the part already completed, what
motive, it has been said, could induce the poet to undertake so great
and so superfluous a labour? Why indite a poem so much longer than could
be recited on any one occasion, and which, _as a whole_, could never be
appreciated? But we would suggest that it is not necessary to suppose
that the poet commenced his labours with the project in view of writing
a long epic, in order to believe that we possess these two great poems
very nearly in the original form in which they were composed. If it were
the task of the poet or poets to supply a number of songs on the
adventures of a popular hero, or the achievements of some famous war,
such number of songs _must_ assume a certain consecutive order, the one
will necessarily grow out of the other. Let any one reflect for a moment
how the work of composition proceeds, and he will perceive that it would
be impossible for a poet to take any one such subject as the siege of
Troy, or the return of Ulysses, as the theme for a number of separate
poems, and not find that he was writing, with more or less continuity,
one long entire poem. This continuity would be improved and especially
attended to, when a certain _order_ came to be preserved (as we know it
was) in the recitation of the several poems. We have no difficulty,
therefore, in believing that, in the time of Pisistratus, the _editors_
of Homer might have had very little to do to give them that degree of
completeness and unity which they at present display. A number of
consecutive songs upon the same subject would naturally grow into an

No decisive argument, we submit, can be drawn from the absence or
limited application of the art of writing at the era assigned for the
composition of these poems. There is nothing left for us but to examine
the poems themselves, to determine what degree of unity of plan or of
authorship may be attributed to them. Unfortunately the critical
perception of scholars, equally eminent, leads to such different
results, that the controversy appears to be hopeless. Where one sees
with the utmost distinctness the difference of workmanship, another sees
with equal clearness the traces of the same genius and manner. And in
controversies of this nature, there is unhappily a most perverse
combination of the strongest conviction with an utter impotence to force
that conviction upon another. Between these two, a man is generally
driven into a passion; and thus we often find a bitter, acrid mood
infused into literary discussions, which, lying as they do apart from
the selfish and conflicting interests of men, would seem to be the
theatre for no such display. The controversy rages still in Germany,
and, it seems, with considerable heat. Lachmann, after dissecting a
certain portion of the Iliad into four songs, "in the highest degree
different in their spirit," tells us that whoever thinks the difference
of spirit inconsiderable--whoever does not feel it at once when pointed
out--whoever can believe that the parts as they stand now belong to one
artistically constructed epos, "will do well not to trouble himself any
more either with my criticisms, or with epic poetry, because he is too
weak to understand any thing about it--("_weil er zu schwach ist etwas
darin zu verstehen._") On the contrary, Ulrici, after having shown (or
tried to show) that the composition of Homer satisfies perfectly, in the
main, all the exigencies of an artistic epic, adds, that this will make
itself at once evident to all those who have any sense of artistical
symmetry, but that to those to whom that sense is wanting, no conclusive
demonstration call be given. He warns the latter, however, they are not
to deny the existence of that which their short-sighted vision cannot
distinguish, for every thing cannot be made clear to children, which the
mature man sees through at a glance! Mr Grote, from whom we quote these
instances, adds that he has the misfortune to dissent both from Lachmann
and Ulrici; for to him it appears a mistake to put (as Ulrici and others
have done) the Iliad and the Odyssey on the same footing. The sort of
compromise which Mr Grote offers seems very fair; but, for our part, we
beg _to reserve the point_; we will not commit ourselves on so delicate
a subject, by a hasty assent. But we promise to read our Homer again
with an especial regard to these boundaries he has pointed out between
the _Achilleïs_ and the _Iliad_.

Who Homer himself may have been, and if the blind bard ever existed, is
a question, of course, very different from the degree of unity to be
traced in the two great poems which have descended to us under his name.
On this subject Mr Grote gives us an hypothesis which, as far as we are
aware, is new and original. It has not, however, won our conviction--and
we had intended to offer some objections against it. But we have already
dwelt so long on this legendary period, that unless we break from it at
once, we shall have no space left to give any idea whatever of the
manner in which Mr Grote treats the more historical periods of his
history. We must be allowed, therefore, to make a bold and abrupt
transition; and, as every one in a history of Greece turns his eye first
toward Athens, we shall, at one single bound, light upon the city of
Minerva as she appeared in the age of Solon and Pisistratus.

A fidelity to the spirit of the epoch upon which he is engaged, as well
as to the text of his authorities, we have already remarked, is a
distinguishing merit of Mr Grote. Of this, his chapters upon the age of
Solon might be cited as an illustration. We are persuaded that a reader
of many a history of Greece, unless himself observant, and on the watch
to detect, as he passes, the signs of the times, might proceed from the
age of Pisistratus to that of Pericles, and not be made aware how very
great the advancement, during that period, of the intellectual condition
of the people of Athens. He has been in Athens all the time, but how
very different have the Athenians become! And unless he were under the
guidance of some more powerful thinker than ordinarily wields the pen of
history, he might be little aware of the change. Mr Grote points it out
with great distinctness.

At the first of these epochs, it is but a barbarous people, with
qualities which bode something better--that bear the name of Athenians.
Amongst the laws of Solon, is one which forbids "the sale of daughters
or sisters into slavery by fathers or brothers!" A law is enacted
against the exportation of all produce of the soil of Attica except
olive oil, and to enforce this commercial or non-commercial regulation,
"the archon was bound, on pain of forfeiting a hundred drachms, to
pronounce solemn curses against every offender!" The superstitious or
religious feelings, if we must honour them by the latter name, are rude
and violent in the extreme--give rise to frenzy amongst the people,--the
women especially,--and call for or admit of human sacrifice. _Both_ the
artifices by which Pisistratus on two several occasions succeeded in
obtaining the tyranny, indicate a people in the very first stages of
civilisation. But what shall be said of the second or grosser of these
artifices?--his entrance into Athens in a chariot with a tall damsel by
his side, personating Minerva, _visibly_ under the protection of the

It is worth observing, that the same class of historians who are given
to extract with an unauthorised boldness a prosaic fact from a poetic
legend, are also the slowest and most reluctant in understanding the
more startling facts which meet them on historic ground, in their simple
and full significance. They are bold before the fable, they are timid
before the fact. Nor is this surprising. In both cases they are on the
search for incidents analogous to those which the ordinary course of
life or of history has made familiar to their imagination. They see
these with an exuberant faith where they do not exist, and will see
nothing _but_ these when something of a far different nature is actually
put before them. Mr Grote, who refused to tread at all on the insecure
ground of the legend, meets this narrative of the second entry of
Pisistratus into Athens upon the level ground of history, and sees it in
its simple form, and sees the people in it. Dr Thirlwall, on the
contrary, who would read the history of a people's wars and emigrations
in the fabulous exploits of fabulous persons, is staggered at the
story--converts it all into a holiday pageant! It was some show or
procession, and all the world knew as well as Pisistratus that it was
the damsel Phyê, and not Minerva, who stood in the chariot.

"This story would indeed be singular," writes Dr Thirlwall, "if we
consider the expedient in the light of a stratagem, on which the
confederates relied for overcoming the resistance which they might
otherwise have expected from their adversaries. But it seems quite as
possible that the pageant was only designed to add extraordinary
solemnity to the entrance of Pisistratus, and to suggest the reflection
that it was by the special favour of Heaven he had been so unexpectedly
restored."--(Vol. ii. p. 67.)

If this story stood alone in spirit and character, and there were no
other contemporary events to occasion us the same kind of surprise, some
such interpretation might not be unreasonable. But other facts which the
historian himself relates with their unabated and literal significance,
testify equally to the gross apprehension of the Athenian people at this
epoch. What shall we say, of the visit of Epimenides to purify the city?
The guilt, it seems, of sacrilege had, some time past, been incurred by
Megacles and his associates, who had put to death certain of their
enemies within the precincts of the temple of Minerva, whither they had
fled for refuge. Megacles might have starved them there, but was
scrupulous to bring this defilement upon the temple. He therefore
promised to spare their lives if they would quit the sanctuary. Upon
this they came forth, holding however, as an additional safeguard, a
rope in their hands which was fastened to the statue of Minerva. Better
not have trusted to the rope, for it broke. Megacles, seeing this,
pronounced aloud that the goddess had evidently withdrawn her
protection, and ordered them to be put to death. For this sacrilege--not
for the promise-breaking or bloodshed--a curse hung over the city.
Superstitious terrors haunted the inhabitants; the scarcity, the
sickness, every evil that afflicted them, was attributed to this cause;
and the women especially, gave themselves up to frantic demonstrations
of fear and piety.

There was a man of Crete, born of a nymph, fed by the nymphs, if indeed
he was fed at all, for no one saw him eat. In his youth, this marvellous
Cretan had been sent by his father to bring home some stray sheep, and
turning aside into a cave for shelter from the noontide heat, had fallen
asleep. He slept on for fifty years. Either supernatural knowledge comes
in sleep, or Epimenides invented this fable to stop all inquiries as to
where, or how, he had passed the early period of his life. He attained
the age of one hundred and fifty-four--some say three hundred years.

This remarkable person, supposed to know by what means the anger of the
gods might be propitiated, was called to Athens. What means he devised
for this purpose may easily be conjectured. After the performance of
certain religious ceremonies, the foundation of a new temple, and the
sacrifice of a human victim, the Athenians were restored to their usual

     "The religious mission of Epimenides to Athens," observes Mr Grote,
     "and its efficacious as well as healing influence on the public
     mind, deserve notice as characteristics of the age in which they
     occurred. If we transport ourselves two centuries forward to the
     Peloponnesian war, when rational influences and positive habits of
     thought had acquired a durable hold upon the superior minds, and
     when practical discussion on political and judicial matters were
     familiar to every Athenian citizen, no such uncontrollable
     religious misery could well have subdued the entire public; and if
     it had, no living man could have drawn to himself such universal
     veneration as to be capable of effecting a cure. Plato, admitting
     the real healing influence of rites and ceremonies, fully believed
     in Epimenides as an inspired prophet during the past, but towards
     those who preferred claims to supernatural power in his own day, he
     was not so easy of faith: he, as well as Euripides and
     Theophrastus, treated with indifference, and even with contempt,
     the Orpheotelestae of the later times, who advertised themselves as
     possessing the same patent knowledge of ceremonial rites, and the
     same means of guiding the will of the gods, as Epimenides had
     wielded before them.... Had Epimenides himself come to Athens in
     those days, his visit would probably have been as much inoperative
     to all public purposes as a repetition of the stratagem of Phyê,
     clothed and equipped as the goddess Athena, which had succeeded so
     completely in the days of Peisistratus--a stratagem which even
     Herodotus treats as incredibly absurd, although a century before
     his time both the city of Athens and the Demas of Attica had
     obeyed, as a divine mandate, the orders of this magnificent and
     stately woman to restore Peisistratus."--(Vol. iii. p. 116.)

There is nothing to which we are more averse than the converting ancient
history into a field for the discussion of modern _party politics_. We
are fully persuaded that the most thorough English Conservative may
admire the Athenian republic; so far at least admire as to admit that it
is impossible to conceive how, under any other form of government, the
peculiar glories of Athens could have shone forth. And, indeed, an
Athenian democracy differs so entirely from any political institution
which the world sees at present, or will ever see again, that to carry
the strife of our politics back into those times, in other than a quite
general manner, is as futile as it is tasteless and vexatious. After
this avowal, we shall not be thought disposed to enter into any needless
cavil, upon this topic, with Mr Grote; we shall not, certainly, be upon
the watch to detect the too liberal politician in the historian of
Greece. An interest in the working of popular institutions is a
qualification the more for his task; and the historian himself must have
felt that it was no mean advantage he had acquired by having taken his
seat in our house of parliament, and mingled personally in the affairs
of a popular government. What the future volumes of the history may
disclose, we will not venture to prognosticate; but, hitherto, we have
met with nothing which deserves the opprobrium of being attributed to
party spirit. There is a certain _tone_ in some of his political
observations which, as may be supposed, we should not altogether adopt;
but many of them are excellent and instructive. Nothing could be better
than the following remarks on the necessity of a "constitutional
morality." He is speaking of the reforms of Cleisthenes.

     "It was necessary to create in the multitude, and through them to
     force upon the leading ambitious men, that rare and difficult
     sentiment which we may term a constitutional morality,--a paramount
     reverence for the forms of the constitution, enforcing obedience to
     the authorities acting under and within those forms, yet combined
     with the habit of open speech, of action, subject only to definite
     legal control, and unrestrained censure of those very authorities
     as to all their public acts,--combined, too, with the perfect
     confidence in the bosom of every citizen, amidst the bitterness of
     party contest, that the forms of the constitution will not be less
     sacred in the eyes of his opponents than in his own. This
     co-existence of freedom and self-imposed restraint--of obedience to
     authority with unmeasured censure of the persons exercising it--may
     be found in the aristocracy of England, (since about 1688,) as well
     as in the democracy of the American United States; and, because we
     are familiar with it, we are apt to suppose it a natural sentiment;
     though there seem to be few sentiments more difficult to establish
     and diffuse among a community, judging by the experience of
     history. We may see how imperfectly it exists, at this day, in the
     Swiss cantons; and the many violences of the French Revolution
     illustrate, amongst various other lessons, the fatal effects
     arising from its absence, even among a people high in the scale of
     intelligence. Yet the diffusion of such constitutional morality,
     not merely among the majority of any community, but throughout the
     whole, is the indispensable condition of a government at once free
     and peaceable; since even any powerful and obstinate minority may
     render the working of free institutions impracticable, without
     being strong enough to conquer ascendency for themselves."--Vol.
     iv. p. 205.

Then follow, close on the extract we have just made, some observations
upon the famous law of Ostracism, which are well deserving of attention,
and which we would willingly quote did our space allow of it. Perhaps it
would be difficult, in following out the several applications of this
law, to show that it had exactly the beneficial operation which--arguing
on the theory of the institution,--is here assigned to it. But, at the
very lowest, this much may be said of the law of Ostracism, that it
gives to the stronger of two factions a means of deciding the contest
without appeal to force, before the contest rose to its maximum of
bitterness, and without necessity or excuse for those wholesale
banishments which afflicted the republics of Italy. If such an
institution had existed in the Florentine republic, we should not have
heard of those cruel banishments that Guelph and Ghibelline, Bianchi and
Neri, inflicted upon each other; such banishments as that, for instance,
in which its great poet Dante was involved.

Of one remarkable event, characterising the working of the Athenian
government, we do not assent to the view presented to us by Mr Grote.
His last published volume brings down the affairs of Greece to the
battle of Marathon and the death of Miltiades. In the sentence passed on
the hero of Marathon, the operation of a popular government has been
often disadvantageously traced; the Athenians have been accused of
fickleness and ingratitude. Mr Grote repels the charge. With some
observations upon this defence, which forms the conclusion of the fourth
and last of the published volumes, we shall bring our own notice to a

_Ingratitude_, we readily admit, is not the proper word to be used on
such an occasion. A citizen serves the state, and is honoured; if he
commits a crime against the state he is not, on this account, to go
unpunished. His previous services invest him with no privilege to break
the laws, or act criminally. What man, capable of doing, a patriotic
action, would wish for such a privilege, or dream of laying claim to it?

Not gratitude or ingratitude--but justice or injustice--is the issue to
be tried between Miltiades and the Athenian assembly. And although Mr
Grote is supported, in some measure, by Dr Thirlwall in the judgment he
gives on this transaction, we prefer to side here with the opinion
expressed by the earlier historian, Mr Mitford: we view the sentence
passed on Miltiades not as the triumph of law or justice, but of mere
party-spirit, the triumph of a faction gained through the unreasonable
anger of the people.

Though the extract is rather long, we must, in justice, give the
narrative of Mr Grote in his own language.

     "His reputation (that of Miltiades) had been great before the
     battle (of Marathon), and after it the admiration and confidence of
     his countrymen knew no bounds; it appears indeed to have reached
     such a pitch, that his head was turned, and he lost both his
     patriotism and his prudence. He proposed to his countrymen to incur
     the cost of equipping an armament of seventy ships, with an
     adequate armed force, and to place it altogether at his discretion;
     giving them no intimation whither he intended to go, but merely
     assuring them that if they would follow him, he would conduct them
     to a land where gold was abundant, and thus enrich them. Such a
     promise, from the lips of the recent victor of Marathon, was
     sufficient, and the armament was granted; no man except Miltiades
     knowing what was its destination. He sailed immediately to the
     island of Paros, laid siege to the town, and sent in a herald to
     require from the inhabitants a contribution of one hundred talents,
     on pain of entire destruction. His pretence for this attack was,
     that the Parians had furnished a trireme to Datis for the Persian
     fleet at Marathon; but his real motive (so Herodotus assures us)
     was vindictive animosity against a Parian citizen named Lysagoras,
     who had exasperated the Persian general Hydarnes against him. The
     Parians amused him at first with evasions, until they had procured
     a little delay to repair the defective portions of their wall,
     after which they set him at defiance; and Miltiades in vain
     prosecuted hostilities against them for the space of twenty-six
     days: he ravaged the island, but his attacks made no impression on
     the town. Beginning to despair of success in his military
     operations, he entered into some negotiation (such at least was the
     tale of the Parians themselves,) with a Parian woman named Timô,
     priestess or attendant in the temple of Demeter (Ceres) near the
     town-gates; this woman, promising to reveal to him a secret which
     would place Paros in his power, induced him to visit by night a
     temple to which no male person was admissible. He leaped the
     exterior fence and approached the sanctuary; but on coming near was
     seized with a panic terror and ran away, almost out of his senses;
     on leaping the same fence to get back, he strained or bruised his
     thigh badly, and became utterly disabled. In this melancholy state
     he was placed on ship-board; the siege being raised, and the whole
     armament returning to Athens."

     "Vehement was the indignation both of the armament and the
     remaining Athenians against Miltiades on his return; and
     Zanthippus, father of the great Perikles, became the spokesman of
     this feeling. He impeached Miltiades before the popular judicature
     as having been guilty of deceiving the people, and so having
     deserved the penalty of death. The accused himself, disabled by his
     injured thigh, which even began to show symptoms of gangrene, was
     unable to stand or to say a word in his own defence; he lay on his
     couch before the assembled judges, while his friends made the best
     case they could in his behalf. Defence, it appears, there was none;
     all they could do was to appeal to his previous services; they
     reminded the people largely and emphatically of the inestimable
     exploit of Marathon, coming in addition to his previous conquest of
     Lemnos. The assembled dikasts or jurors showed their sense of these
     powerful appeals, by rejecting the proposition of his accuser to
     condemn him to death; but they imposed on him the penalty of fifty
     talents 'for his iniquity.'" (Vol. iv. p. 488.)

He died shortly after from his wound.

On this narrative we must make one or two observations. The turn of
expression which the writer has selected for conveying the meaning of
the original Greek text of his authority, might lead us to imply that
when the Athenians placed a force of seventy ships at the command of
Miltiades they did not know on what _kind_ of expedition he was about to
employ them. "He would conduct them to a land where gold was abundant,
and thus enrich them." Surely no one had an idea that it was a voyage
of discovery, in search after some El Dorado that Miltiades was about to
undertake. Every one in Athens knew that the fleet was to be directed
against some of their neighbours: although, for very manifest
reasons,--the advantage of taking their victim by surprise, and of
leaving their general unfettered, to act according to circumstances,--the
objects of attack were not revealed, and on this a perfect secrecy was
allowed to be maintained. It should be also _added_ to this account,
that Zanthippes, father of Pericles, who made himself spokesman for the
angry feeling of the Athenians, was also, as Dr Thirwall tells us,
"the son of Ariphron, the chief of the rival house of the Alcmaonids,"
who were little pleased with the sudden rise of Miltiades.

From the same authority we may also learn, that "Paros was at this time
one of the most flourishing amongst the Cyclades." Miltiades directed
the expedition against Paros from personal motives, from vindictive
animosity against a Parian citizen; but Paros was rich, and could
therefore pay a ransom--the very object of the expedition; and the
pretext under which alone Athens could extort a ransom or a tribute from
its neighbours, that they had assisted the Persians, or failed in
bringing aid to the common cause against them, applied to Paros; it had
furnished, or was accused of having furnished, a trireme to Datis.
Whatever baseness Miltiades betrayed in using a public force for his own
private revenge, there is nothing to make it appear that the selection
of Paros for the object of his attack was not in perfect consistency
with the real public purpose of the enterprise.

What crime in all this had Miltiades committed against the _Athenians_?
The injustice of the expedition they shared; for it would be
childishness to suppose that they sent their general out with seventy
ships, and had no idea that he would attack any one. The personal
motives which led him to direct it against Paros, however mean and
unworthy of him, are not shown to have been at variance with the
professed objects of the expedition. Nor can any one doubt for a moment
that if he had succeeded in extorting from the Parians, and others, a
large sum of money, the Athenians would have welcomed him back with
applause, as loud as the censure they bestowed on their defeated
generals, who, instead of plunder, brought them back only the disgrace
of having tried to plunder. There were those at hand ready to take
advantage of the public irritation; they accused him, and obtained his
condemnation. We are not claiming for Miltiades the praise of virtue;
nor should we make any pathetic appeal in his behalf. He was not free
from a moral delinquency; but, so far as the Athenians were concerned,
his substantial offence was failure in his enterprise.

That his friends urged no other defence but that of his previous
services, is no proof that other grounds for acquittal were not present
to their minds. They were pleading before angry and irresponsible
judges, whom it, was their object to soothe and propitiate. Would the
strain of inculpatory observations that we have been making, have
answered their purpose? To tell an angry man that he is angry, because
he is disappointed, is not the way to abate his passion. That Miltiades
_had_ disappointed them was certain; undoubtedly the best method of
defence was to remind them of the great services that he had formerly
rendered them. It was not the demands of judicial reason his advocates
had to satisfy: they were pleading before judges whose feelings of the
moment were to be the law of the moment.

     "Thus closed the life of the conqueror of Marathon. The last act of
     it," continues Mr Grote, "produces an impression so mournful, and
     even shocking--his descent from the pinnacle of glory, to defeat,
     mean tampering with a temple-servant, mortal bodily hurt,
     undefended ignominy, and death under a sentence of heavy fine, is
     so abrupt and unprepared--that readers, ancient and modern, have
     not been satisfied without finding some one to blame for it: we
     must except Herodotus, our original authority, who recounts the
     transaction without dropping a single hint of blame against any
     one. To speak ill of the people, as Machiavel has long ago
     observed, is a strain in which every one at all times, even under a
     democratical government indulges with impunity and without
     provoking any opponent to reply; and in this case the hard fate of
     Miltiades has been imputed to the vices of the Athenians and their
     democracy--it has been cited in proof partly of their fickleness,
     partly of their ingratitude. But however such blame may serve to
     lighten the mental sadness arising from a series of painful facts,
     it will not be found justified if we apply to those facts a
     reasonable criticism."

He thus vindicates the Athenians from the charge of _fickleness_, on the
ground that it was not they, but Miltiades who had changed. The fugitive
from Paros, and the victor of Marathon, were two very different persons.
As any remarkable instance of fickleness we should certainly not be
disposed to cite the case. The charge of _ingratitude_, we have
admitted, is, presuming that he was guilty, entirely displaced. But when
Mr Grote in his final summary says, "The fate of Miltiades thus, so far
from illustrating either the fickleness or the ingratitude of his
countrymen, attests their just appreciation of deserts," we must indeed
demur. No, no: this was not the triumph of justice over the finer
sensibilities of our nature, as Mr Grote would seem to imply. On the
fairest review we can give to the whole of the circumstances, we find on
the sentence passed upon Miltiades a gross instance of that old
notorious injustice which pronounces an enterprise meritorious or
criminal according to its success. The enterprise was altogether a
disgraceful affair. But the Athenians must be supposed cognisant of the
nature of the expedition for which they fitted out their seventy
ships:--_against them_, we repeat, the only substantial offence
committed was his failure; nor can we doubt that his welcome back to
Athens would have been quite different had there been a different issue
to the adventure. Justice there was none; unless it be justice for three
freebooters to pass sentence upon the fourth.

Before concluding, we ought, perhaps, to take, some notice of the reform
in our orthography of Greek words which Mr Grote is desirous of
introducing, in order to assimilate the English to the Greek
pronunciation. The principal of these is the substitution of K for C.
Our own K, he justly observes, precisely coincides with the Greek K,
while a C may be either K or S. He writes Perikles, Alkibiades. To this
approximation of the English pronunciation to the Greek we can see
nothing to object. A reader of Greek finds it a mere annoyance, and sort
of barbarism, to be obliged to pronounce the same name one way while
reading Greek, and another when speaking or reading English; and to the
English reader it must be immaterial which pronunciation he _finally_
adopts. Meanwhile, it must be allowed that the first changing of an old
familiar name is a disagreeable operation. We must leave the popular and
the learned taste to arrange it how they can together. Mr Grote has
wisely left some names--as Thucydides--in the old English form; in
matters of this kind nothing is gained by too rigid a consistency. It is
not improbable that his orthography will be adopted, in the first place,
by the more learned writers, and will from their pages find its way into
popular use. Mr Grote also, in speaking of the Greek deities, calls them
by their Greek names, and not by the Latin equivalents--As _Zeus_ for
Jupiter--_Athene_ for Minerva.


[1] _A History of Greece._ BY GEORGE GROTE, ESQ.

[2] Vol. ii. p. 346.

[3] _Grote_: vol. i, p. 641, where the quotation is very effectively

[4] Vol. i. p. 434.

[5] _Dr Thirlwall's Hist._ vol. i. p. 152.

[6] _Thirlwall_, vol. i. p. 154. On the subject of the Trojan war we
quote the following passage from the same historian, as an instance of
the extremely slender thread which a conjectural writer will think it
worth his while to weave in amongst his arguments for the support of
some dubious fact. "One inevitable result," he says, "of such an event
as the Trojan war, must have been to diffuse amongst the Greeks a more
general knowledge of the isles and coasts of the Aegean, and to leave a
lively recollection of the beauty and fertility of the region in which
their battles had been fought. This would direct the attention of future
emigrants in search of new homes toward the same quarter; and the fact
that the tide of migration really set in this direction first, when the
state of Greece became unsettled, _may not unreasonably be thought to
confirm the reality of the Trojan war_." (P. 250.) Little need, one
would think, of a Trojan war to direct the tide of emigration to the
opposite coasts of Asia Minor.


It was on a bright, hot day of July, which threw the first gleam of
sunshine across a long tract of soaking, foggy, dreary, hopeless
weather, that we ascended Ben Nevis. The act was unpremeditated. The wet
and fog of weeks had entered into our soul; and we had resolved, in the
spirit of indignant resignation, that we would _not_ attempt the hill.
Accordingly we were stalking lazily along General Wade's road: we had
left Fort William, and thought there might be a probability of reaching
Fort Augustus to dinner,--when we were not ungratefully surprised to see
the clouds tucking themselves up the side of the mountain in a peculiar
manner, which gives the experienced wanderer of the hills the firm
assurance of a glorious day. Soon afterwards, the great mountain became
visible from summit to base, and its round head and broad shoulders
stood dark against the bright blue sky. A sagacious-looking old
Highlander, who was passing, protested that the hill had never looked so
hopeful during the whole summer: the temptation was irresistible, so we
turned our steps towards the right, and commenced the ascent.

It is one among the prevailing fallacies of the times, that to mount a
Highland hill is a very difficult operation, and that one should hire a
guide on the occasion. We lately witnessed a very distressing instance
of the alarming prevalence of this notion, in a young Chancery
barrister, fresh from Brick Court Temple, who asked us in a very solemn
tone of voice, if we could recommend him to "a steady guide to the top
of Arthur Seat." When matters have come to such a crisis, it is time to
speak out; and we are able, on the ground of long experience, to say,
that if the proper day be chosen, and the right method adopted, the
ascent of our grandest mountains is one of the simplest operations in
all pedestrianism. True, if people take it in the way in which pigs run
up all manner of streets, and go straight forward, looking neither to
the right nor to the left, they will run their heads against nature's
stone walls, which are at least as formidable as man's. But let any one
study the disposal of the ground, calculating the gradients and summit
levels as if he were a railway-engineer for the time being--let him
observe where the moss lies deep, and precipices rise too steep to be
scrambled over; and he will be very obtuse indeed, if he is not able to
chalk out for himself precisely the best way to the top. It is a good
general rule to keep by the side of a stream. That if you do so when you
are at the top of a hill, you will somehow or other find your way to the
bottom, is, we are convinced, a proposition as sound as Newton's theory
of gravitation. But in the ascent, the stream is often far better than a
human guide. It has no interest to lead you to the top of some
episodical hill and down again, and to make you scramble over an
occasional dangerous pass, to show you how impossible it is that you
could have found the way yourself, and how fortunate you are in having
secured the services of an intelligent and intrepid guide. On the
contrary, as long as you keep by the side of the stream you are always
gaining ground and making your way towards the higher levels, while you
avoid bogs: for the edge of a stream is generally the dryest part of a

Choosing the broadest and deepest scaur that is scratched down the
abrupt side of the lower range of the mountain, we find it, as we
anticipated, the channel of a clear dancing stream, which amuses us with
its babble for several hundred feet of the ascent. Some time ere we had
reached the base of the hill we had lost sight of the summit, and there
was before us only the broad steep bank, with its surface of alternate
stone and heather, and a few birch-trees peeping timidly forth from
crevices in the rock. After a considerable period of good hard climbing,
accompanied by nothing worthy of note either in the variations of the
scenery or in the incidents encountered, we are at the top of this
rampart; and behold! on the other side of a slight depression, in which
sleeps a small inky lake, the bold summit of the mountain rises clear
and abrupt and close, as one might see the dome of a cathedral from the
parapet on the roof. Here we linger to take a last look of the objects
at the foot of the hill, for ere we resume the ascent we shall lose
sight of them. Already Fort William looks like a collection of
rabbit-houses. The steam-boat on the lake is like a boy's Christmas toy.
The waters have assumed that hard burnished metallic appearance which
they convey to the eye raised far above them in a hot summer day. The
far-stretching moss, with one or two ghastly white stones standing erect
out of its blackness like druidical remains, carries the eye along its
surface to the dusky and mysterious ruins of Inverlochy Castle, which
has so sadly puzzled antiquaries to divine how its princely round towers
and broad barbican could have been erected in that wild and remote
region, where they stand patiently in their ruined grandeur, waiting
till our friend Billings shall, with his incomparable pencil, make each
tower and arch and moulding as familiar to the public eye as if the old
ruin stood in Fleet Street.

Off we start with the lake to the left, taking care to keep the level we
have gained. A short interval of walking in a horizontal direction, and
again we must begin to climb. On this side the porphyry dome is round
and comparatively smooth--scarcely so abrupt as the outer range of hill
which we have just ascended. But wending north-eastwardly when near the
summit, we came suddenly to a spot where a huge fragment of the dome
had, as it were, been broken off, leaving a ghastly rent--how deep it
were difficult for the eye to fix, but the usual authorities tell us
that the precipices here are 1500 feet high. When we reached their edge,
we found that the clouds, which had been completely lifted up from the
smoother parts of the mountain, still lingered as if they had difficulty
in getting clear of the ragged edges of the cavernous opening, and
moving about restlessly like evil spirits, hither and thither, afforded
but partial glimpses of the deep vale below. Though Ben Nevis was at
this time rather deficient in his snowy honours, considerable patches
lay in the unsunned crevices of the precipice. It was a fine thing to
occupy one's-self in tilting over huge boulders, and to see them
gradually approach the edge of the gulf, and then leap thundering into
the mist.

Turning our eyes from the terrible fascinations of the precipice to the
apex of the hill now in full view, a strange sight there met our eyes--a
sight so strange that we venture to say the reader no more anticipates
it than we did, at the moment when we looked from the yawning precipice
to what we expected to be a solitary mountain-top. "Pooh!" the reader
will say, "it was an eagle looking at the sun, or a red-deer snuffing
with his expanded nostrils the tainted air." We shake our heads. "Well,
then, it was a waterspout--or, perhaps, a beautiful rainbow--or
something electric, or a phenomenon of some sort." Utterly wrong. It was
neither more nor less, reader, than a crowd of soldiers, occupying
nearly the whole table-land of the summit! Yes, there they were, British
troops, with their red coats, dark gray trousers, and fatigue caps, as
distinctly as we ever saw them in Marshall's panoramas! We were reminded
of the fine description which Scott gives of the Highland girl who was
gazing indolently along the solitary glen of Gortuleg on the day of the
battle of Culloden, when it became suddenly peopled by the Jacobite
fugitives. "Impressed with the belief that they were fairies--who,
according to Highland tradition, are visible to men only from one
twinkle of the eyelid to another--she strove to refrain from the
vibration, which she believed would occasion the strange and magnificent
apparition to become invisible." But whether the eye winked or not,
there they were--substantial able-bodied fellows; what could it mean?
Had Colonel Mitchell discovered a new system for protecting the country
by fortifying the tops of mountains which an enemy never comes near?
Could it be some awkward squad sent to be drilled on this remote spot
that it might escape the observation of the sarcastic public? Such were
the theories as suddenly rejected as they were suggested. It was vain to
speculate. No solution we could devise made the slightest approach to
probability; and our only prospect of speedy relief was in pushing
rapidly forward. A very short sentence from the good-humoured looking
young fellow who received our first breathless and perplexed inquiry,
solved the mystery,--"did you never hear of the Ordnance Survey?" Yes,
indeed, we had heard of it; but our impression of it was as of something
like a mathematical line, with neither breadth nor thickness; but here
it was in substantial operation. The party were occupied in erecting a
sort of dwelling for themselves--half tent, half hut. Though in fatigue
dresses, and far from being very trim, it was easy to see that they were
not common soldiers. They belong, we believe, to the educated corps of
sappers and miners; and a short conversation with them showed that the
reputation of intelligence and civility long enjoyed by that
distinguished body has not been unjustly earned. Though not blind to the
magnificence of the panorama of mountain, lake, and distant
far-stretching forest-land that lay beneath our feet as we conversed,
they did not conceal their consciousness that the prospect of passing
some months on such a spot was not particularly cheering to
round-cheeked comfortable Englishmen, accustomed at Sandhurst and
Addiscombe to comforts even superior to those of the Saut Market. The
air was unexceptionably pure and abundant--yet the Bedford level might
have been preferable as a permanent residence. Many were the reflections
that occurred to us of the feelings of a set of men thus cut off from
the earth, down on which they looked, like so many Jacks on a huge
bean-stalk. What a place to encounter the first burst of the November
storm in, beneath the frail covering of a tent! How did their friends
address letters to them? Would a cover addressed "Mr Abel Thompson of
the Royal engineers, Top of Ben Nevis," be a document to which the
post-office would pay any more regard than to a letter addressed to one
of the fixed stars? Could they ask a friend to step up to dinner, or
exchange courtesies with the garrison of Fort William, into whose
windows they might peep with their telescopes?

In the course of conversation with our new friends, we alighted on a
subject in which we have long taken an interest. They had already
conducted some operations on Ben Muich Dhui, and they were now
commencing such surveys on Ben Nevis, as would enable them finally to
decide which of these mountains has the honour of being the highest land
in the United Kingdom. Competition has of late run very close between
them; and the last accounts had shown Ben Muich Dhui only some twenty
feet or so a-head. We freely confess that we back Ben Muich Dhui in this
contest. It is true that Ben Nevis is in all respects a highly
meritorious hill. We must do justice to his manly civility and good
humour. We have found many a crabbed little crag more difficult of
access; and, for his height, we scarcely know another mountain, of which
it is so easy to reach the top. He stands majestic and alone, his own
spurs more nearly rivalling him than any of the neighbouring hills.
Rising straight from the sea, his whole height and magnificent
proportions are before us at once, and the view from the summit has an
unrivalled expanse. Still there are stronger charms about the great
centre of the Cairngorm range. Surrounded by his peers, he stands apart
from the every-day world in mysterious grandeur. The depth and
remoteness of the solitude, the huge mural precipices, the deep chasms
between the rocks, the waterfalls of unknown height, the hoary remains
of the primeval forest, the fields of snow, and the deep black lakes at
the foot of the precipices, are full of such associations of awe, and
grandeur, and mystery, as no other scenery in Britain is capable of
arousing. The recollections of these things inclined us still to favour
Ben Muich Dhui; and before separating from these hermits of her
Majesty's ordnance, we earnestly requested, if they had any influence in
the matter, that they would "find" for our favourite, to which we shall
now introduce our readers.

Our public are certainly not amenable to the charge of neglecting what
is worth seeing, because it is distant and inaccessible. On the top of
the Righi, where people go to behold the sun rise over the Alps, we have
seen the English congregated in crowds on the wooden bench erected for
that purpose, making it look like a race-course stand, and carrying on a
bang-up sort of conversation--

     Right against the eastern gate
     Where the great sun begins his state,--

as if it were a starting-post, and they were laying bets on the events
of the day. The Schwartzwald, the Saxon Schweitz, nay, even the wild
Norrska Fiellen, swarm with British tourists; and we are credibly
informed that loud cries of "boots" and "waiter," with expostulations
against the quality of the bottled porter and the airing of the beds,
may be heard not far from Mount Sinai. Yet, in the centre of our own
island there is a group of scenery, as unlike the rest of the country as
if we had travelled to another hemisphere to see it--as grand and
beautiful as the objects which our tourists cross half the globe to
behold--which is scarcely known to those who profess to say that they
have visited every thing that is worth seeing in their own country. The
answer to this will probably be, that railway travelling has brought the
extremities of Europe together--that Switzerland is but four days from
London--that it is as easy to get to Chamouni as to Braemar--and that
the scenery of the Alps _must_ be finer than any thing to be seen in
Scotland. Even this broad proposition may be questioned. It was with no
small pride that one night, after a hard walk from Martigny to Chamouni,
we heard a distinguished Englishman, who has been able to compare with
each other the finest things both physical and mental which the world
has produced, and whose friendly face greeted us as we emerged from the
dark valley into a brilliantly lighted hotel--stand up for old Scotland,
and question if there were any thing, even in the gorgeous vale of
Chamouni itself, to excel our purple mountains and narrow glens. But if
we should be disposed to give the preference to the Alps, on that
principle of politeness, which actuated an Aberdeen fisherman, who had
found his way under the dome of St Paul's, to exclaim--"Weel, that jist
maks a perfect feel o' the Kirk o' Fitty"--we think there is something
inexpressibly interesting in beholding, in the middle of this busy
island of steam-engines and railways, of printing machines and spinning
jennies, one wide district where nature is still as supremely lord of
all--where man feels as much separated from all traces of the
workmanship of his fellows, as in the forests of Missouri, or the upper
gorges of the Himalayas. But it is not true that the Cairngorm range of
mountains is a distant place to tourists. It is in the very centre of
their haunts. They swarm in the valleys of the Spey and the Tay, at
Laggan, Blair Athol, and Braemar, and want but enterprise or originality
enough to direct their steps out of the beaten paths which have formed,
since Scottish touring became fashionable forty years ago, the regular
circles in which these creatures revolve. They care not in general to
imbibe the glories and the delights of scenery, but confine themselves
to the established Lions, which it is good for a man to be able in
society to _say_ that he has seen. "Well, I can say I have seen it,"
says your routine tourist--whereby, if he knew the meaning of his own
words, he would be aware that he conveyed to mankind a testimony to his
folly in having made any effort to look at that which has produced no
impression whatever on his mind, and in looking at which he would not be
aware that he saw any thing remarkable, unless the guide-book and the
waiter at the inn had certified that it was an object of interest. It is
true, that to see our friends the Cairngorm hills, one must walk, and
that somewhat stiffly--but this is seldom an obstacle in any place where
pedestrianism is not unfashionable. In the Oberland of Switzerland, we
have seen green-spectacled, fat, plethoric, gentlemen, fresh from
'Change, wearing blouses and broad straw hats, carrying haversacks on
their shoulders, and tall alpenstocks in their hands to facilitate the
leaping of the chasms in the glaciers--looking all the time as if the
whole were some disagreeable dream, from which they hoped to awaken in
their easy-chair in the back office in Crane Alley. No! when personages
of this kind adopt the pilgrim's staff, we may be sure that there is a
good fund of pedestrianism still unexhausted, could the means of
stimulating it be found. But it is high time that we should point out
the way to our favourite land of precipices, cataracts, and snow.

We shall suppose the traveller to be at Braemar, which he may have
reached by the Deeside road from Aberdeen, or in the direction of Spital
of Glenshee through the pass of the Vhrich-vhruich, (have the goodness,
reader, to pronounce that aloud,) or from the basin of the Tay by the
ancient Highland road through Glen Tilt, and the Ault-Shiloch-Vran. Even
the scenery round Braemar is in every way worthy of respect. The hills
are fine, there are noble forests of pine and birch, and some good
foaming waterfalls; while over all preside in majesty the precipices and
snow of Lochin-ye-gair. Still it is farther into the wilderness, at the
place where the three counties of Aberdeen, Inverness, and Banff meet,
that the traveller must look for the higher class of scenery of which we
are sending him in search. As Braemar, however, contains the latest inn
that will greet him in his journey, he must remember here to victual
himself for the voyage; and, partial as we are to pedestrianism, we
think he may as well take a vehicle or a Highland poney as far on his
route as either of them can go: it will not long encumber him. The linn
of Dee, where the river rushes furiously between two narrow rocks, is
generally the most remote object visited by the tourist on Dee-side.
There is little apparent inducement to farther progress. He sees before
him, about a mile farther on, the last human habitation--a shepherd's
cabin, without an inch of cultivated land about it; and he is told that
all beyond that is barrenness and desolation, until he reach the valley
of the Spey. The pine-trees at the same time decrease in number, the
hills become less craggy and abrupt, and the country in general assumes
a bleak, bare, windy, bog-and-moor appearance, that is apt to make, one

Of the various methods of approaching Ben Muich Dhui, the most striking,
in our opinion, is one with which we never found any other person so
well acquainted as to exchange opinions with us about it. We did once,
it is true, coax a friend to attempt that route; he had come so far with
us as the edge of the Dee, but disliked crossing it. In the
superabundance of our zeal, we offered to carry him over on our
shoulders; but when we came to the middle of the stream, it so happened
that a foot tripped against a stone, and our friend was very neatly
tilted over our head into the water, without our receiving any
considerable damage, in our own proper person. He thereafter looked upon
us, according to an old Scottish proverb, as "not to ride the water
with;" and perhaps he was right. So we proceeded on our journey alone.
Our method was to cross right over the line of hills which here bound
the edge of the river. Though not precipitous, this bank is very
high--certainly not less than a thousand feet. When you reach the top,
if the day be clear, the whole Cairngorm range is before you on the
other side of the valley, from summit to base, as you may see Mont Blanc
from the Col de Balm, or the Jungfrau from the Wengern Alp. From this
bird's-eye view, you at once understand that peculiar structure of the
group, which makes the valleys so much deeper and narrower, and the
precipices so much more frightful, than those of any other of the
Scottish mountains. Here there are five summits springing from one root,
and all more than four thousand feet above the level of the sea. The
circumference of the whole group is as that of one mountain. We can
imagine it to have been a huge, wide, rounded hill, Ben Muich Dhui being
the highest part, and the whole as smooth and gentle as some of the Ural
range, where you might have a fixed engine, and "an incline," without
levelling or embanking. But at some time or other the whole mass had got
a jerk; and so it is split from top to bottom, and shivered, and shaken,
and disturbed into all shapes and positions, showing here and there such
chasms as the splitting in two of mountains some three thousand feet or
so in direct height must necessarily create. Having to his satisfaction
contemplated the group from this elevation, the traveller may descend
into Glen Lui Beg, as we shall presently describe it.

Returning to the Dee,--about a mile below the Linn, the stream of the
Lui forces a passage through the steep banks and joins the river. We
enter the glen from which this stream flows by a narrow rocky pass,
through which the trees of the Mar forest struggle upwards. As we
proceed, the trees gradually become more scarce, the rocky barrier is
left behind us, and we are in a long grassy glen shut out from the
world. This is Glen Lui. A better introduction to the savage scenery
beyond, for the sake of contrast, there could not be. Every thing here
is peace and softness. Banks lofty, but round and smooth, intervene to
hide the summits of the mountains. The stream is not stagnant, but it
flows on with a gentle current, sometimes through sedge or between
grassy banks; elsewhere edged by a beach of the finest yellow sand. The
water is beautifully transparent, and even where it is deepest you may
count the shining pebbles below. A few weeping birches here and there
hang their graceful disconsolate ringlets almost into the stream; the
grass is as smooth as a shaven lawn, and much softer; and where a few
stones protrude through it, they are covered with a cushion of
many-coloured mosses. But with all its softness and beauty, the extreme
loneliness of the scene fills the mind with a sense of awe. It surely
must have been in such a spot that Wordsworth stood, or of such a scene
that he dreamed, when he gave that picture of perfect rest which he
professed to apply to a far different spot, Glen Almon--a rough, rocky
glen, with a turbulent brook running through it, where there never was
or can be silence:

     "A convent--even a hermit's cell
     Would break the silence of this dell--
     It is not quiet--is not ease,
     But something deeper far than these.
     The separation that is here
     Is of the grave, and of austere
     And happy feelings of the dead."

Nor in Glen Lui can one feel inclined to join in the charge of mysticism
which has been raised against this last simile. Its echoes in the heart
at once associate themselves with a few strange, mysterious, round
mounds, of the smoothest turf, and of the most regular, oval, or
circular construction, which rise here and there from the flat floor of
the valley. It needs no archaeological inquiry to tell us what they are:
we feel that they cover and have covered--who call tell how many hundred
years?--the remains of some ancient people, with whom history cannot
make us acquainted, and who have not even the benefit of tradition; for
how can there be traditions in places where no human beings dwell?

     "A noble race, but they are gone!
       With their old forests wide and deep;
     And we have fed our flocks upon
       Hills where their generations sleep.
     Their fountains slake our thirst at noon,
       Upon their fields our harvest waves;
     Our shepherds woo beneath their moon--
       Ah, let us spare at least their graves!"

"Stop!" says a voice, "the quotation is utterly inappropriate--how can
there be flocks where not even a single sheep feeds--how can shepherds
woo beneath the moon where there are no damsels to woo?" Granted; but
the lines are pretty--they were the most appropriate that we could find,
and they blend in with one's feelings on this spot; for, if it be a
strange and melancholy sight in the Far West, beyond the Atlantic, to
alight upon the graves of a tribe of Indians whose history has become
extinct, is it not more strange still to look, in the centre of this
busy island, which has lived in history eighteen hundred years, on these
vestiges of an old extinct race, not turned up by the plough, or found
in digging the foundation of a cotton mill, but remaining there beneath
the open sky, as they were left of old, no successors of the aboriginal
race coming to touch them? Standing in Glen Lui, and remembering how
fast we are peopling Australia and the Oregon, one's mind becomes
confused about the laws of emigration and colonisation. Yet how soon may
all this be changed. Perhaps the glen may turn out to be a good trunk
level--the granite of Ben Muich Dhui peculiarly well adapted for
tunnelling, and the traffic something of an unknown and indescribable
extent: and some day soon the silence may be awakened with the fierce
whistle of the train, and the bell may ring, and passengers may be
ordered to be ready to take their places, and first, second, and third
class tickets may be stamped with the rapidity of button-making--who
knows? Nobody should prophesy in this age what may _not_ be done. We
once met a woful instance of a character for great sagacity utterly lost
at one blow, in consequence of such a prediction. The man had engaged to
eat the first locomotive that ever came to Manchester by steam from
Liverpool. On the day when this marvel was accomplished, he received a
polite note enclosing a piece of leather cut from the machinery, with an
intimation that when he had digested _that_, the rest of the engine
would be at his service. But the reader is getting tired of Glen Lui,
and insists on being led into more exciting scenery.

After being for a few miles such as we have tried to describe it, the
glen becomes narrower, and the scenery rougher. Granite masses crop out
here and there. The pretty dejected weeping birches become mixed with
stern, stiff, surly pines, which look as if they could "do any thing but
weep," and not unnaturally suggest the notion that their harsh conduct
may be the cause of the tears of their gentler companions. At last a
mountain thrusts a spur into the glen, and divides it into two: we are
here at the foot of Cairngorm of Derrie, or the lesser Cairngorm. The
valley opening to the left is Glen Lui Beg, or Glen Luithe
Little--containing the shortest and best path to the top of Ben Muich
Dhui. The other to the right is Glen Derrie--one of the passes towards
Loch A'an or Avon, and the basin of the Spey. Both these glens are alike
in character. The precipitous sides of the great mountains between which
they run, frown over them and fill them with gloom. The two streams of
which the united waters lead so peaceful a wedded life in calm Glen Lui,
are thundering torrents, chafing among rocks, and now and then starting
unexpectedly at our feet down into deep black pools, making cataracts
which, in the regular touring districts, would be visited by thousands.
But the marked feature of these glens is the ancient forest. Somewhere
we believe in Glen Derrie there are the remains of a saw-mill, showing
that an attempt had been at one time made to apply the forest to
civilised purposes; but it was a vain attempt, and neither the Baltic
timber duties, nor the demand for railway sleepers, has brought the axe
to the root of the tree beneath the shadow of Ben Muich Dhui. There are
noble trees in the neighbouring forest of Braemar, but it is not in a
state of nature. The flat stump occurs here and there, showing that
commerce has made her selection, and destroyed the ancient unity of the
forest. In Glen Derrie, the tree lives to its destined old age, and
whether falling from decay, or swept to the ground by the tempest, lies
and rots, stopping perhaps the course of some small stream, and by
solution in the intercepted waters forming a petty peat-bog, which,
after a succession of generations, becomes hardened and encrusted with
lichens. Near such a mass of vegetable corruption and reorganisation,
lies the new-fallen tree with its twigs still full of sap. Around them
stand the hoary fathers of the forest, whose fate will come next. They
bear the scars and contortions of many a hard-fought battle with the
storms that often sweep the narrow glen. Some are bent double, with
their heads nearly touching the earth; and among other fantastic forms
it is not unusual to see the trunk of some aged warrior twisted round
and round, its outer surface resembling the strands of a rope. A due
proportion of the forest is still in its manly prime--tall, stout,
straight trees, lifting their huge branches on high, and bearing aloft
the solemn canopy of dark green that distinguishes "the scarcely waving
pine." We are tempted to have recourse to poetry again--we promise it
shall be the last time on this occasion: there are, however, some lines
by Campbell "on leaving a scene in Bavaria," which describe such a
region of grandeur, loneliness, and desolation, with a vigour and melody
that have been seldom equalled. They were first published not many
years before his death, and it seemed as if the ancient harp had been
re-strung to more than its old compass and power--but, alas! when we
spoke of these verses to himself, we found that, like all of his that
were fitted for immortality, they had been the fruit of his younger and
better days, and that a diffidence of their merit had retarded their
publication. Let the reader commit these two stanzas to memory, and
repeat them as he nears the base of Ben Muich Dhui.

     "Yes! I have loved thy wild abode,
        Unknown, unploughed, untrodden shore;
     Where scarce the woodman finds a road,
        And scarce the fisher plies an oar;
        For man's neglect I love thee more;
     That art nor avarice intrude,--
        To tame thy torrents' thunder-shock,
        Or prune thy vintage of the rock,
     Magnificently rude.

     Unheeded spreads thy blossomed bud
        Its milky bosom to the bee;
     Unheeded falls along the flood
        Thy desolate and aged tree.
        Forsaken scene! how like to thee
     The fate of unbefriended worth!
        Like thine, her fruit unhonoured falls--
        Like thee, in solitude she calls
     A thousand treasures forth."

It is after proceeding through Glen Lui Beg, perhaps about three or four
miles from the opening of the glen, that we begin to mount Ben Muich
Dhui. At first we clamber over the roots and fallen trunks of trees; but
by degrees we leave the forest girdle behind, and precipices and snow,
with a scant growth of heather, become our sole companions. Keeping the
track where the slope of the hill is gentlest, we pass on the right Loch
Etichan, lying like a drop of ink at the base of a huge dark mural
precipice--yet it is not so small when seen near at hand. This little
tarn, with its back-ground of dark rocks interspersed with patches of
snow, might strongly remind the Alpine traveller of the lake near the
Hospice of the Grimsel. The two scenes are alike hard and leafless and
frozen-like--but the Alpine pass is one of the highways of Europe, and
thus one seldom crosses it without encountering a pilgrim here and
there. But few are the travellers that pass the edge of Loch Etichan,
and if the adventurous tourist desires company, he had better try to
find an eagle--not even the red-deer, we should suppose, when driven to
his utmost need, seeks such a shelter, and as for foxes and wild-cats
they know too well the value of comfortable quarters in snug glens, to
expose themselves to catch cold in so Greenland-like a region.

The climber will know that he is at the top of Ben Muich Dhui, when he
has to scramble no longer over scaurs or ledges of rock, but walking on
a gentle ascent of turf, finds a cairn at its highest part. When he
stands on this cairn, he is entitled to consider himself the most
elevated personage in the United Kingdom. Around it is spread something
like a table-land, and one can go round the edges of the table, and look
down on the floor, where the Dee, the Avon, the Lui, and many other
streams, are seen like silver threads, while their forest banks resemble
beds of mignionette or young boxwood. There are at several points
prodigious precipices, from which one may contemplate the scene below;
but we recommend caution to the adventurer, as ugly blasts sometimes
sweep along the top.

When a mountain is the chief of a district, we generally see from the
top a wide expanse of country. Other mountains are seen, but wide
valleys intervene, and thus they are carried to a graceful distance.
Probably, more summits are seen from Ben Nevis, than from any other
height in Scotland, but none of them press so closely on the monarch as
even to tread upon his spurs. The whole view is distant and panoramic.
It is quite otherwise with Ben Muich Dhui. Separated from it only by
narrow valleys, which some might call mere clefts, are Cairn Toul, Brae
Riach, Cairn Gorm, Ben Avon, and Ben-y-Bourd--all, we believe, ascending
more than four thousand feet above the level of the sea--along with
several other mountains which very closely approach that fine round
number. The vicinity of some of these summits to Ben Muich Dhui has
something frightful in it. Standing on the western shoulder of the hill,
you imagine that you might throw a stone to the top of Brae Riach--we
have been so much deceived by distance as to have seriously made the
attempt, we shall not venture to say how many years ago. Yet, between
these two summits rolls the river Dee; and Brae Riach presents right
opposite to the hill on which we stand, a mural precipice, said to be
two thousand feet high--an estimate which no one who looks on it will be
inclined to doubt. Brae Riach, indeed, is unlike any thing else in
Scotland. It is not properly a hill, but a long wall of precipice,
extending several miles along the valley of the Dee. Even in the
sunniest weather it is black as midnight, but in a few inequalities on
its smooth surface, the snow lies perpetually. Seldom is the cleft
between the two great summits free of clouds, which flit hither and
thither, adding somewhat to the mysterious awfulness of the gulf, and
seeming in their motions to cause certain deep but faint murmurs, which
are in reality the mingled sounds of the many torrents which course
through the glens, far, far below.

Having had a satisfactory gaze at Brae Riach,--looking across the
street, as it were, to the interesting and mysterious house on the
opposite side,--the traveller may probably be reflecting on the best
method of descending. There is little hope, we may as well inform him,
of his return to Braemar to-night, unless he be a person of more than
ordinary pedestrian acquirements. For such a consummation, he may have
prepared himself according to his own peculiar ideas. If he be a
tea-totaller, he will have brought with him a large bottle of lemonade
and some oranges--we wish him much satisfaction in the consumption of
them, and hope they will keep his outer and inner man warm after the
dews of eve have descended. Perhaps his most prudent course (we consider
ourselves bound to give discreet advice, for perhaps we may have led
some heedless person into a scrape) will be to get down to Loch Avon,
and sleep under the Stone of Shelter. Proceeding along the table-land of
the hill, in a direction opposite to that by which he has ascended, the
traveller comes to a slight depression. If he descend, and then ascend
the bank towards the north-east, he will find himself on the top of a
precipice the foot of which is washed by the Loch. But this is a
dangerous windy spot: the ledge projects far out, and there is so little
shelter near it, that, from beneath, it has the appearance of
overhanging the waters. It is not an essential part of the route we are
about to suggest, and we would rather decline the responsibility of
recommending it to the attention of any one who is not a practised
cragsman. In the depression we have just mentioned will be found, unless
the elements have lately changed their arrangements and operations, the
largest of those fields of snow which, even in the heat of summer,
dispute with the heath and turf the pre-eminence on the upper ranges of
Ben Muich Dhui. If we were desirous of using high-sounding expressions,
we would call this field a glacier, but it must be at once admitted that
it does not possess the qualities that have lately made these frigid
regions a matter of ardent scientific inquiry. There are no icebergs or
fissures; and the mysterious principle of motion which keeps these
congealed oceans in a state of perpetual restlessness is unknown in the
smooth snow-fields of Ben Muich Dhui. But there are some features common
to both. The snow-field, like the glacier, is hardened by pressure into
a consistence resembling that of ice. A curious thing it is to topple a
huge stone down from a neighbouring precipice on one of these
snow-fields, and see how it hits the snow without sinking in it, and
bounds along, leaving no scratch on the hardened surface. A stream
issues from the field we are now alluding to, formed like the glacier
streams from the ceaseless melting of the snow. It passes forth beneath
a diminutive arch, such as the source of the Rhine might appear through
a diminishing glass; and looking through this arch to the interior of
the hardened snow, we see exemplified the sole pleasing peculiarity of
the glacier--the deep blue tint that it assumes in the interior of the
fissures, and on the tops of the arches whence the waters issue. This
field of snow, which we believe has never been known to perspire so much
in the hottest season as to evaporate altogether, constitutes the main
source of the Avon. The little stream, cold and leafless though it be,
is not without its beauties. Rarely have we seen such brilliant mosses
as those which cluster round its source: their extreme freshness may
probably be accounted for by remembering that every summer day deducts
so much from the extent of the snow-field, and that the turf in its
immediate neighbourhood has just been uncovered, and, relieved from
prison, is enjoying the first fresh burst of spring in July or August.
For our own part we think this region of fresh moss is quite worthy of
comparison with the far-famed _Jardin of the Talèfre_, which we find
described in Murray's hand-book as "an oasis in the desert, an island in
the ice--a rock which is covered with a beautiful herbage, and enamelled
in August with flowers. This is the Jardin of this palace of nature, and
nothing can exceed the beauty of such a spot, amidst the overwhelming
sublimity of the surrounding objects, the Aiguilles of Charmoz,
Bletière, and the Géant," &c. "Herbage," "flowers"!! Why, the jardin is
merely a rock protruding out of the glacier, and covered with lichens;
but, after all, was it reasonable to expect a better flower-show ten
thousand feet above the level of the sea, and some nine thousand or so
above all horticultural societies and prize exhibitions?

As we follow the course of the little stream, it becomes gradually
enlarged by contributions from subsidiary snow streams; and winds along
for some distance not inconsiderable in the volume of its waters,
passing through a beautiful channel of fine sand, probably formed of the
_detritus_ of the granite rocks, swept along by the floods, caused by
the melting of the snow in spring. The water is exquisitely clear--a
feature which at once deprives it of all right to be considered
glacier-born; for filth is the peculiarity of the streams claiming this
high origin, and none can have seen without regretting it, the Rhone,
after having washed itself clean in the Lake Leman, and come forth a
sapphire blue, becoming afterwards as dirty as ever, because it happens
to fall in company with an old companion, the Arve, which, having never
seen good society, or had an opportunity of making itself respectable,
by the mere force of its native character, brings its reformed brother
back to his original mire, and accompanies him in that plight through
the respectable city of Lyons, till both plunge together into the great
ocean, where all the rivers of the earth, be they blue or yellow, clear
or boggy, classical or obscure, become alike indistinguishable.

Perhaps our traveller is becoming tired of this small pleasant stream
running along a mere declivity of the table-land of Ben Muich Dhui. But
he will not be long distressed by its peaceful monotony. Presently, as
he comes in sight of the valley below, and Loch Avon lying in a small
pool at the base of the dizzy height, the stream leaps at once from the
edge of the hill, and disappears for a time, reappearing again far down
in a narrow thread, as white as the snow from which it has issued. Down
the wide channel, which the stream occupies in its moments of fulness
and pride--moments when it is all too terrible to be approached by
mortal footsteps--the traveller must find his way; and, if he understand
his business, he may, by judiciously adapting to his purpose the many
ledges and fractures caused by the furious bursts of the flooded stream,
and by a judicious system of zig-zagging, convert the channel, so far as
he is himself concerned, into a sort of rough staircase, some two
thousand feet or so in length. The torrent itself takes a more direct
course; and he who has descended by the ravine may well look up with
wonder at what has the appearance of a continuous cataract, which,
falling a large mass of waters at his feet, seems as if it diminished
and disappeared in the heavens. The Staubbach, or Fall of Dust, in
Lauter Brunen, is beyond question a fine object. The water is thrown
sheer off the edge of a perpendicular rock, and reaches the ground in a
massive shower nine hundred feet high. But with all respect for this
wonder of the world, we are scarcely disposed to admit that it is a
grander fall than this rumbling, irregular, unmeasured cataract which
tumbles through the cleft between Ben Muich Dhui and Ben Avon. We should
not omit, by the way, for the benefit of those who are better acquainted
with Scottish than with Continental scenery, to notice the resemblance
of this torrent to the Gray Mare's Tail in Moffat-dale. In the character
both of the stream itself and in the immediate scenery there are many
points of resemblance, every thing connected with the Avon being of
course on the larger scale.

Our wanderer has perhaps indulged himself in the belief that he has been
traversing these solitudes quite alone--how will he feel if he shall
discover that he has been accompanied in every step and motion by a
shadowy figure of huge proportions and savage mien, flourishing in his
band a great pine-tree, in ghastly parallel with all the motions of the
traveller's staff? Such are the spirits of the air haunting this howling
wilderness, where the pale sheeted phantom of the burial vault or the
deserted cloister would lose all his terrors and feel himself utterly
insignificant. Sometimes the phantom's head is large and his body small,
then he receives the name of Fahin. James Hogg has asserted, not only
poetically, but in sober prose, that, he was acquainted with a man who

     "Beheld the fahin glide o'er the fell."

For ourselves, are bound to confess that we never had the honour of
meeting with this megacephalous gentleman, nor did we ever encounter any
one who professed to have seen him, otherwise we would certainly have
reported the case to the Phrenological Society. But we no more doubt his
existence than that of the spectre of the Brocken. Sometimes the shadowy
spectre of Ben Muich Dhui is a gigantic exaggeration of the ordinary
human form seen stalking in a line with the traveller's route, striding
from mountain-top to mountain-top as _he_ steps from stone to stone, and
imitating on an enlarged scale all his gestures. The spectre has an
excellent excuse for all this unpolite mimicry--in fact, he cannot help
it, as the reader may infer from the following account, of one of his
appearances on a reduced scale. The description is given by Sir Thomas
Dick Lauder, who, along with Mr Grant of Ballindalloch, had ascended Ben
Muich Dhui:--"On descending from the top, at about half-past three,
P.M., an interesting optical appearance presented itself to our view. We
had turned towards the east, and the sun shone on our backs, when we saw
a very bright rainbow described on the mist before us. The bow, of
beautifully distinct prismatic colours, formed about two-thirds of a
circle, the extremities of which appeared to rest on the lower portion
of the mountain. In the centre of this incomplete circle, there was
described a luminous disc, surrounded by the prismatic colours displayed
in concentric rings. On the disc itself, each of the party (three in
number) as they stood at about fifty yards apart, saw his own figure
most distinctly delineated, although those of the other two were
invisible to him. The representation appeared of the natural size, and
the outline of the whole person of the spectator was most correctly
portrayed. To prove that the shadow seen by each individual was that of
himself, we resorted to various gestures, such as waving our hats,
flapping our plaids, &c., all which motions were exactly followed by the
airy figure. We then collected together, and stood as close to one
another as possible, when each could see three shadows in the disc; his
own, as distinctly as before, while those of his two companions were but
faintly discernible."[7]

We are now at the upper extremity of Loch Avon, or, as it is pronounced,
Loch A'an, and beside the far-famed Stone of Shelter. We had a standing
feud with James Hogg about the extent of Loch Avon, ever since the day
of that celebrated encampment on Dee-side. Let us see. Thirty years have
now rolled by since that unmatched gathering of choice spirits--nay,
seventeen have passed and gone since we made regretful allusion, when
commemorating the Moray floods, to the history and fortunes of those who
were then assembled. Five years later, the Shepherd was himself gathered
to the dust; but he stuck to his principles to the last, and in a
discussion of the subject not many months before his death, after he
had just remarked that he had "a blessed constitution," he reiterated
his old statement, that Loch Avon exceeded twenty miles in length. His
views on this subject were indeed a sort of gauge of the Shepherd's
spirits. In his sombre moments he appeared to doubt if he were quite
correct in insisting that the length was twenty miles; when he was in
high spirits he would not abate one inch of the thirty. Now, when one
man maintains that a lake is thirty miles long, and another that it is
but a tenth part of that length, it is not always taken for granted that
the moderate man is in the right; but on the contrary, paradoxical
people are apt to abet his opponent, and it was provoking that we could
never find any better authority against the Shepherd than his own very
suspicious way of recording his experience at Loch Avon in a note to the
_Queen's Wake_: "I spent a summer day in visiting it. The hills were
clear of mist, yet the heavens were extremely dark--the effect upon the
scene exceeded all description. My mind during the whole day experienced
the same sort of sensation as if I had been in a dream." But if our
departed friend has left any disciples, we are now able to adduce
against them the highest parochial authority. We are told in the new
Statistical Account that--"Loch Avon lies in the southern extremity of
the parish, in the bosom of the Grampian mountain. It is estimated at
_three miles long_ and a mile broad. The scenery around it is
particularly wild and magnificent. The towering sides of Ben-y-Bourd,
Ben Muich Dhui, and Ben Bainac, rise all around it, and their rugged
bases skirt its edges, except at the narrow outlet of the Avon at its
eastern extremity. Its water is quite luminous, and of great depth,
especially along its northern side. It abounds in trout of a black
colour and slender shape, differing much in appearance from the trout
found in the limpid stream of the Avon which issues from it. At the west
end of the lake is the famous Clach Dhian or Shelter Stone. This stone
is an immense block of granite, which seems to have fallen from a
projecting rock above it, rising to the height of several hundred feet,
and forming the broad shoulder of Ben Muich Dhui. The stone rests on two
other blocks imbedded in a mass of rubbish, and thus forms a cave
sufficient to contain twelve or fifteen men. Here the visitor to the
scenery of Loch Avon takes up his abode for the night, and makes himself
as comfortable as he can where 'the Queen of the Storm sits,' and at a
distance of fifteen or twenty miles from all human abode."[8]

At the eastern end of the lake, we stop to take a glance at the whole
scene. Right before us stands the broad top and the mural precipices of
Ben Avon, severing us from the north-western world. On the right, the
scarcely less craggy sides of Ben-y-Bourd and Ben Bainac wall up the
waters of the lake. The other side is conspicuous by a sharp peak of Ben
Muich Dhui--the same which we already mentioned as seeming to hang (and
it certainly does so seem from this point) over the edge of the water.
We never saw the sun shining on Loch Avon; we suspect its waters, so
beautifully transparent in themselves, are seldom visited by even a
midsummer gleam. Hence arises a prevailing and striking feature of the
scene--the abundant snows that fill the hollows in the banks, and
sometimes, even in midsummer, cover the slopes of the mountains.

We incline to the belief that tourists in general would consider Loch
Avon the finest feature of the whole group of scenery which we have
undertaken to describe. For our own part we must admit that we prefer
the source of the Dee, to which the reader shall be presently
introduced, as more peculiar and original. Loch Avon is like a fragment
of the Alps imported and set down in Scotland. Our recollections of it
invariably become intertwined and confused with the features of the
scenery of the upper passes. The resemblance was particularly marked on
the first of August 1836: it was a late season, and every portion of the
mountains that did not consist of perpendicular rock appeared to be
covered with snow. The peak of Ben Muich Dhui shot forth from the snow
as like the Aiguilles of Mont Blanc, as one needle is like another. That
was on the whole an adventurous day with us. We had set off from Braemar
very early in the morning, taking a vehicle as far as it would penetrate
through Glen Lui. The day was scarcely promising, but we had so long
been baffled by the weather that we felt inclined at last to put it at
defiance, or at least treat it with no respect. In Glen Lui every thing
was calm and solemn. As we passed through Glen Derrie, the rain began to
fall, and the wind roared among the old trees. The higher we ascended,
the more fierce and relentless became the blast; and when we came within
sight of Loch Avon, the interstices in the tempest-driven clouds only
showed us a dreary, winter, Greenland-like chaos of snow and rocks and
torrents. It taxed our full philosophy, both of the existence of the
_ego_ and the _non-ego_, to preserve the belief that we were still in
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and that it was the
first of August. Our indefinite projects had gradually been contracting
themselves within a narrow compass. To reach the Stone of Shelter was
now our utmost object of ambition, but it was clear that that was
impracticable--so we looked about for some place of refuge, and with
little difficulty discovered a stone about the size of a parish church
lying like a pebble at the foot of a mountain, with a projecting ledge
on the lee side, sufficiently large to protect our party. Some dry furze
happened, by a singular accident, to lie heaped in a corner of this
natural shed. With a little judicious management it was ignited, and
burned so well as to overcome the wetness of a mass of thick heather
roots, which we added to it. We were in the possession of some raw
venison;--do not open your eyes so, reader; it was most unromantically
and honestly come by, being duly entered in the bill at worthy Mrs
Clarke's inn, at Braemar. Having brought certain conjuring utensils with
us, we proceeded to cook our food and make ourselves comfortable. Water
was easily obtained in the neighbourhood, and being in possession of the
other essential elements of conviviality, we resolved that, as the
weather was determined to make it winter outside, we should have the
joys of winter within; the shrieks of the blast were drowned in our
convivial shouts--

     "The storm without might rair and rustle,
     Tam didna mind the storm a whistle."

Another adventure we remember in the same place, but that was long, long
ago; in fact, it was when in boyhood we had first entered into that
awful wilderness. We had reached the top of Ben Muich Dhui early in the
day. Our little wallet of provisions we had left on a tuft of heather
where we had lain down to rest, and we could not afterwards find the
spot. Somewhat tired, and faint with hunger, we descended the rocks by
the side of the cataract, believing that Loch Avon, seemingly so small
from the summit of the mountain, was the little Tarn of Etichan, which
had been passed in the ascent from Dee-side. It was alarming to find the
lake extending its bulk as we approached, and to see the glens looking
so different from any of those we were acquainted with on Dee-side; but
to have returned up the mountain would have been insanity, and by
pursuing the track of a stream, one is sure in the end--at least in this
country--to reach inhabited land; so we followed the waters of the Avon,
so deep and transparent, that many miles down, where they join the Spey,
their deceptious character is embodied in the proverb--

     "The water o' A'an, it rins sae clear,
     'Twould beguile a man o' a hunder year."

A few miles below the exit of the stream from the loch, as the extreme
dimness of the valley showed that sunset was approaching, we met a
drover who had gone up into the wilderness in search of stray black
cattle. He could speak little English, but was able to give us the
startling intelligence that by what was merely a slight divergence at
first, we had gone down towards the strath of the Spey instead of that
of the Dee; and that we were some thirty miles from the home we had
expected to reach that evening. Our new friend took us under his charge,
and conducted us to a bothy, made of the bent roots of the pine-tree,
found in the neighbouring mosses, and covered with turf. It was so low,
that we could not stand upright in it, and a traveller might have walked
over it without observing that it was an edifice made with human hands.
The sole article of furniture, of which it could boast was a trough, in
which our new friend hospitably presented us with a supper of oatmeal
and water--our first nourishment for the day. The supply was liberal,
whatever might be thought of the quality of the repast. The floor of the
bothy was strewed with heather, somewhat coarse and stumpy, on which we
lay down and slept. Conscious of a confused noise and a sort of
jostling, it was with some surprise that we perceived that no less than
ten men had crowded themselves into that little hut and had lighted a
fire. It was like a realisation of some of Cooper's romantic incidents,
where, after a silent desert has been described, it somehow or other
becomes suddenly full of people and fertile in adventure. Our new
companions were not of the most agreeable cast: they were rough and
surly, hiding, we thought, a desire to avoid communication under the
pretence of inability to speak any thing but Gaelic; while, in the midst
of their Celtic communications with each other, they swore profusely in
the Scottish vernacular. What their pursuits were, or what occasion they
had to be in that wild region, was to us a complete mystery, opened up
slightly by reflecting on the two great lawless pursuits, smuggling and
poaching; of the fruit of neither of which, however, did we see any
symptom. Our position was not for many reasons, great and small, to be
envied: however, it was the best policy to make one of themselves for
the time being, so far as their somewhat repulsive manners would permit.
It was not, however, with much regret, that, after having been packed
for some hours with them on the hard stumps of heather, we left them in
full snore at sunrise on a clear morning, and ascended the hill dividing
the waters that run into the Spey from those which feed the Dee. The
dews lay heavy on the moss and heather, and, as we neared the top of the
ridge, glittered brightly in the new-risen sun; while here and there the
mists, forming themselves into round balls, gradually rolled up the
sides of the hills, and, mounting like balloons, disappeared in the blue
sky. As we passed down through the broken forest-land on the other side,
we could see, on the top of the gentler elevations, the slender-branched
horns of the red-deer between us and the sky. Even on our near approach
the beautiful animals showed no signs of panic,--perhaps they knew our
innocence; and they gazed idly as we passed, only tossing their heads in
the air, and scampering off disdainfully when we approached offensively
close. We reached the Dee by following the stream of the Quoich, which,
like the Lui, passes through the remains of an ancient forest. It
derives its convivial name from a peculiar cataract often visited by
tourists from Braemar. Here the stone is hollowed by the action of the
water into circular cavities like those of the Caldron Linn; and in one
of these the guides will have the audacity to tell you that a
bacchanalian party once made grog by tossing in a few ankers of brandy,
and that they consumed the whole on the premises.

We must now tell our pilgrim how he is to find his way by the more
direct route from Loch Avon to Braemar, and we may at the same time
afford a hint to the reader who desires to proceed towards the lake
without crossing Ben Muich Dhui. Near where the stream of the Avon
issues, it is necessary to turn to the right, and to keep rather
ascending than descending. In a few miles the brow of the hill shuts us
out from the wintry wild, and in a hollow are seen two small lakes
called the Dhu Lochan, with nothing about them to attract notice but
their dreariness and their blackness. The course of a burn which feeds
them marks the way to the water-shier between the Spey and the Dee,
whence a slight descent leads down to Glen Derrie, the position of which
has been already described.

We now propose another excursion--our last on the present occasion--to
the sources of the Dee. We place our wanderer again at the Linn of Dee.
As he proceeds up the stream, the banks become flatter, and the valleys
wider and less interesting, until after some miles--we really cannot say
how many--the river turns somewhat northwards, and the banks become more
close and rocky. At this spot there is a fine waterfall, which, in the
midst of a desert, has contrived to surround itself with a not
unbecoming clump of trees. The waters are divided into two; the
Geusachan burn joining the stream from the west. At last the conical
peak of Cairn Toul appears over-topping all the surrounding heights; and
then, a rent intervening, we approach and soon walk under the great
mural precipice of Brae Riach, which we have already surveyed to so much
advantage from the top of Ben Muich Dhui. We are here in the spot which
to us, of all this group of scenery, appears to be the most remarkable,
as being so unlike any other part of Scotland, or any place we have seen
elsewhere. The narrowness of the glen and the height of its walled sides
are felt in the constrained attitude in which we look up on either side
to the top, as if we were surveying some object of interest in a tenth
story window of our own High Street. This same narrowness imparts a
sensation as if one could not breathe freely. If we compare this defile
to another of the grandest mountain passes in Scotland--to Glencoe, we
find a marked difference between them. The scene of the great tragedy,
grand and impressive as it is, has no such narrow walled defiles. The
mountains are high, but they are of the sugar-loaf shape--abrupt, but
never one mass of precipice from top to bottom. Cairn Toul resembles
these hills, though it is considerably more precipitous: but Brae Riach
is as unlike them as a tower is distinct from a dome. In this narrow
glen we could tell of sunsets and sunrises, not accompanied by such
disagreeable associations as those we have recorded in Glen Avon.
Picture the very hottest day of a hot year. The journey in the wide
burning glen up from the Linn of Dee has been accomplished only with the
aid of sundry plunges in the deep, cold pools, which the stream has
filled with water fresh from the inner chambers of the mountains. The
moment we enter the narrow part of the glen, though the sun is still
pretty far up in the heavens, we are in twilight gloom. We have no
notice of his leaving the earth, save the gradual darkening of all
things around us. Then the moon is up, but we have no further
consciousness of his presence, save that the sharp peak of Cairn Toul
shows its outline more clearly even than by daylight; and a lovely roof
of light-blue, faintly studded with stars, contrasts with the dark sides
of our rocky chamber. In such a time, when one has mounted so far above
the level of the waters that they only make a distant murmur--when there
is not a breath of wind stirring any thing--it is strange with how many
mysterious voices the mountain yet speaks. Sometimes there is a
monotonous and continuous rumble as if some huge stone, many miles off,
were loosened from its position, and tumbling from rock to rock. Then
comes a loud distinct report as if a rock had been split; and faint
echoes of strange wailings touch the ear, as if this solemn desert were
frequented at night by animals as little known to the inhabitants of our
island as the uncouth wilds in which they live. But let not the wanderer
indulge in thoughts of this description beyond the bounds of a pleasant
imaginativeness. Let him take it for granted, that neither cayman nor
rattlesnake will disturb his rest; and having pitched on a dry spot, let
him pluck a large quantity of heather, making up a portion of it in
bundles, and setting them on end closely packed together with the flower
uppermost, while he reserves the rest to heap over himself. It is such a
bed as a prince has seldom the good fortune to take his rest on; and if
the wanderer have a good conscience, and the night be fine, he will
sleep far more soundly than if he were packed on the floor of a bothy,
with ten Highlanders who every now and then are giving their shoulders
nervous jerks against the heather stumps, or scratching the very skin
off their wrists. When he awakens, he finds himself nearer to the top of
Ben Muich Dhui than he had probably supposed, and the ascent is straight
and simple. He may be there to see the sun rise, a sight which has its
own peculiar glories, though most people prefer seeing the event from
some solitary hill, which, like Ben Nevis, Shehallion, or the Righi,
stands alone, and looks round on a distant panorama of mountains.

To return to the Dee.--The river divides again, one stream coming
tumbling down through the cleft between Cairn Toul and Brae Riach,
called the Garchary Burn. The other, less precipitously inclined, comes
from between Brae Riach and Ben Mulch Dhul, and is called the Larig.
Like the Nile and the Niger, the Dee is a river of a disputed source. As
we shall presently find, the right of the Garchary to that distinction
is strongly maintained by pretty high authority; but we are ourselves
inclined to adopt the Larig, not only because it appeared to us to
contain a greater volume of water, but because it is more in the line of
the glen, and, though rough enough, is not so desperately flighty as the
Garchary, and does not join it in those great leaps which, however
surprising and worthy of admiration they may be in themselves, are not
quite consistent with the calm dignity of a river destined to pass close
to two universities. Following then the Larig over rocks and rough
stones, among which it chafes and foams, we reach a sort of barrier of
stones laid together by the hand of nature with the regularity of an
artificial breakwater. As we pass over this barrier, a hollow rumbling
is heard beneath; for the stream, at least at ordinary times, finds its
way in many rills deep down among the stones. When we reach the top of
the bank we are on the edge of a circular basin, abrupt and deep, but
full of water so exquisitely clear that the pebbly bottom is every where
visible. Here the various springs, passing by their own peculiar
conduit-pipes from the centre of the mountain, meet together, and east
up their waters into the round basin--one can see the surface disturbed
by the force of their gushing. Soon after passing these "wells of Dee,"
we are at the head of the pass of Cairngorm, and join the waters which
run to the Spey. A path leads through the woods of Rothiemurchus to
Aviemore, on which the nearest house is, or used to be, that of a widow
named Mackenzie, who in that wide solitude extends her hospitality to
the wayfarer. Blessings on her! may her stoup never be dry, or her aumry
empty. It is needless to tell the traveller, that by this route he may
approach the scenery of the Cairngorm hills from Laggan, Rannoch, and
other places near Spey side.

The claims of the Garchary to the leadership are supported by that
respectable topographer Dr Skene Keith--probably on account of his own
adventurous ascent of that turbulent stream, which we shall give in his
own words, merely premising that we suspect he was mistaken in his
discovery that the well he saw is called "Well Dee."

     "At two o'clock P.M. we set out to climb the mountain, still
     keeping in sight of the river. In a few minutes we came to the foot
     of a cataract, whose height we found to be one thousand feet, and
     which contained about a fourth part of the water of which the
     Garchary was now composed. In about half an hour after, we
     perceived that the cataract came from a lake in the ridge of the
     mountain of Cairn Toul, and that the summit of the mountain was
     another thousand feet above the loch, which is called Loch na Youn,
     or the Blue Lake. A short time after we saw the Dee (here called
     the Garchary from this rocky bed, which signifies in Gaelic _the
     rugged quarry_) tumbling in great majesty over the mountain down
     another cataract; or as we afterwards found it, a chain of natural
     cascades, above thirteen hundred feet high. It was in flood at this
     time from the melting of the snow, and the late rains; and what was
     most remarkable, an arch of snow covered the narrow glen from which
     it tumbled over the rocks. We approached so near to the cataract as
     to know that there was no other lake or stream; and then we had to
     climb among huge rocks, varying from one to ten tons, and to catch
     hold of the stones or fragments that projected, while we ascended
     in an angle of seventy or eighty degrees. A little before four
     o'clock we got to the top of the mountain, which I knew to be Brae
     Riach, or the speckled mountain. Here we found the highest well,
     which we afterwards learned was called Well Dee, and other five
     copious fountains, which make a considerable stream before they
     fall over the precipice. We sat down completely exhausted, at four
     o'clock P.M. and drank of the highest well, which we found to be
     four thousand and sixty feet above the level of the sea; and whose
     fountain was only thirty-five degrees of heat on the 17th of July,
     or three degrees above the freezing point. We mixed some good
     whisky with this water, and recruited our strength [a very
     judicious proceeding.] Then we poured as a libation into the
     fountain a little of the excellent whisky which our landlord had
     brought along with him [a very foolish proceeding.] After resting
     half an hour, we ascended to the top of Brae Riach at five P.M.,
     and found it to be four thousand two hundred and eighty feet above
     the level of the sea."[9]

We must not bid farewell to this mountain desert without asking
attention to a peculiar feature in the hills connected with a disastrous
history. In many places the declivities are seamed with trenches some
forty or fifty feet deep, appearing as if they were made by a gigantic
plough-share which, instead of sand, casts up huge masses of rock on
either side, in parallel mounds, like the morains of a glacier. There
are many of these furrows on the side of Ben Muich Dhui, nearest to the
Dee. Though we had long noticed them, it was not until we happened to be
in that district, immediately after the great floods of 1829, that we
were forcibly told of the peculiar cause of this appearance. The old
furrows were as they had been before--the stones, gray, weather-beaten,
and covered with lichen, while heather and wildflowers grew in the
interstices. But among them were new scaurs, still like fresh wounds,
with the stones showing the sharpness of late fracture, and no herbage
covering the blood-red colour of the sand. It was clear from the
venerable appearance of the older scaurs, that only at long intervals do
the elements produce this formidable effect--at least many years had
passed since the last instance before 1829 had occurred. The theory of
the phenomenon appeared to be pretty simple. Each spring is a sort of
stone cistern, which, through its peculiar duct, sends forth to one part
of the surface of the earth the water it receives from another. If,
through inordinately heavy falls of rain, there be a great volume of
water pressing on the entrance tubes, the expansive force of the water
in the cistern increases in that accumulating ratio which is practically
exemplified in the hydraulic press, and the whole mass of water bursts
forth from the side of the mountain, as if it were a staved barrel,
rending rocks, and scattering their shattered fragments around like
dust. Hence we may presume arose these fierce pulsations which made the
rivers descend wave on wave. What a sight, to have been remembered and
thought on ever after, would it have been, had one been present in this
workshop of the storm while the work was going on!

Now, reader, before we have done, let us confess that there are many
elements that we like to meet with in such things, wherein this little
contribution to the knowledge of British local scenery is deficient.
Fain would we have given it a more hospitable tone, telling of the
excellent cookery at this inn, and the good wines at the next, and the
general civility experienced at the third; but we cast ourselves, O
generous reader! on your mercy. How could we describe the comforts and
luxuries of inns, in a place where there is not a single house--a place
which, like the Irish milestone, is "fifteen miles from inny where"?

As to the frequented methods of approach towards the border of the
wilderness which we have taken under our especial patronage, we profess
not to discuss them, leaving the public in the very competent hands of
the Messrs Anderson, whose "Guide to the Highlands and Islands of
Scotland" is, in relation to the inhabited districts, and the usual
tourists' routes, all-sufficient for its purpose.


[7] _Edinburgh New Philosophic Journal_, 1831, p. 165.

[8] _New Statistical Account of Scotland--Banffshire_, p. 298.

[9] _Dr Skene Keith's Surrey of Aberdeenshire_, p. 644.



DEAR ARCHY,--I am tempted to write you a letter more than I had
originally intended,--a supplementary and final one.

The powers which we have seen employed to shake the nerves and unsettle
the mind in the service of superstition,--can they be turned to no
useful purpose?

To answer this question, I will give you a brief account of the two most
vigorous attempts which have been made to turn the elements we have been
considering to a profitable end. I have in my thoughts the invention of
ether-inhalation and the induction of trance in mesmerism. The witch
narcotised her pupils in order to produce in them delusive visions; the
surgeon stupifies his patient to prevent the pain of an operation being
felt. The fanatic preacher excites convulsions and trance in his
auditory to persuade them that they are visited by the Holy Spirit;
Mesmer produced the same effects as a means of curing disease.

Let us first look into the simpler problem of ether-inhalation.

It occurred to Mr Jackson, a chemist in the United States, that it might
be possible, and unattended with risk, so to stupify a patient with the
vapour of sulphuric ether that he might undergo a surgical operation
without suffering. He communicated the idea to Mr Morton, a dentist, who
carried it into execution with the happiest results. The patient became
unconscious,--a tooth was extracted;--no sign of pain escaped at the
time;--there was no recollection of suffering afterwards. Led by the
report of this success, in the course of the autumn of 1846, Messrs
Bigelow, Warren, and Heywood ventured to employ the same means in
surgical operations of a more serious description. The results obtained
on these occasions were not less satisfactory than the first had been.
Since then, in England, France, and Germany, this interesting experiment
has been repeated in numberless cases, and its general success may be
considered to be established.

The effects produced by the inhalation of the vapour of sulphuric ether,
present a superficial resemblance to those produced by exposure to
carbonic acid; but they are more closely analogous to the effects of
inhaling nitrous oxide; and they may be compared and contrasted with
those of opium and alcoholic liquors. But the patient is neither in the
state of asphyxia, nor is he narcotised, nor drunk. The effects produced
are peculiar, and deserve a name of their own.

To give you a distinct idea of the ordinary phenomena of etherisation, I
will cite three or four instances from a report on this subject by Dr
Heyfelder, Knight, professor of medicine, and director of the surgical
clinic at Erlangen.

Dr Heyfelder himself, a strong and healthy man, after inhaling the
vapour of ether for a minute, experienced an agreeable warmth in his
whole person; after the second minute, he felt a disposition to cough,
and diminution of ordinary sensibility. Then an impression supervened
that some great change was about to take place within him. At the
expiration of the third minute, he _lost sensibility and consciousness_.
In this state he remained two minutes. The pulse was unaffected. Upon
coming to himself, he felt a general sense of exhaustion, with weakness
of the back and knees. For the remainder of the day he walked
unsteadily, and his mind was confused.

A. T., aged thirty-six, a tall strong servant-maid, after inhaling for
seventeen minutes, became unconscious, and appeared not to feel a
trifling wound with a surgical needle. In a minute consciousness
returned. She laughed immoderately, spoke of an agreeable feeling of
warmth, and said she had had pleasant dreams. The pulse was slower, the
breathing deeper, during the inhalation. The same person upon inhaling,
on another occasion, with a better apparatus, became insensible after
two minutes. The eyes appeared red and suffused; a carious tooth was
then extracted, which caused her to moan slightly. On returning to
herself she complained of giddiness, but said she had experienced none
but agreeable feelings. She had no idea that the tooth had been

K. A., aged twenty-nine, upon beginning the inhalation, showed signs of
excitement, but in nine minutes lay relaxed like a corpse. A tooth was
extracted. Two minutes afterwards she awoke, moaning and disturbed. She
stated that she _had not felt the extraction of the tooth, but she had
heard it_.

C. S., aged twenty-two, a strong and healthy young man, a student of
surgery, on commencing the inhalation, coughed, and there was a flow of
saliva and of tears. In three and a half minutes the skin appeared
insensible to pain. Consciousness remained perfect and undisturbed. The
skin was warm; the eyes were open; the hearing as usual; the speech,
however, was difficult. This state continued eighteen minutes, during
which, at _his request_, two teeth with large fangs were extracted. He
held himself perfectly still. He said, afterwards, that _he felt the
application of the instrument, but was sensible of no pain_, during the
extraction of the teeth.

W. S., aged nineteen, a strong and healthy young man, a law-student,
after inhaling the ether-vapour a minute, began to move his arms about,
struck his knees, stamped with his feet, laughed. In three minutes the
laughter and excitement had increased. The eyes rolled, he sprang up,
talked volubly; the pulse was strong and frequent. In seven minutes he
breathed deeply, the eyelids closed, the pulse sank. In eight minutes he
began to snore, but heard when called to. In nine minutes the eyes were
suffused; the optic axes were directed upwards and outwards. At the end
of twelve minutes a tooth was extracted, when he uttered an exclamation
and laughed. On his return to himself, he said that he had _felt the
laceration, or tear, but had experienced no pain_. He thought he had
been at a carousal.

If I add to these sketches that the patient sometimes becomes pale,
sometimes flushed,--that the pupils of the eyes are generally dilated
and fixed, sometimes natural and fixed, sometimes contracted,--that
violent excitement sometimes manifests itself attended with the
persistence or even exaltation of the ordinary sensibility,--that
sometimes hysteric fits are brought on; sometimes a state resembling
common intoxication,--you will have had the means of forming a
sufficiently exact and comprehensive idea of the features of

Then, if we exclude the cases in which excitement, instead of collapse,
is induced, and, in general, cases complicated with disorder of the head
or chest, it appears that the inhalation of ether is not attended with
questionable or injurious consequences; and that it places the patient
in a condition in which the performance of a surgical operation may be
prudently contemplated. If the operation require any length of
time,--from thirty to forty minutes, for instance,--the state of
insensibility may be safely maintained, by causing the inhalation to be
resumed as often as its effects begin to wear off. In minor cases of
surgery, in which union of the wound _by adhesion_ is necessary to the
success of the operation--in harelip, for instance--an exacter
comparison is, perhaps, requisite than has yet been made of the relative
results obtained on etherised and non-etherised patients. In graver
cases, some of which always end fatally, symptoms, again, may
occasionally supervene, or continue from the time of the operation,
which are directly attributable to the etherisation. But, in all
probability, the entire proportion of recoveries in etherised cases will
be found to be increased, through the injurious effects being averted
which are produced by fear and suffering. There is every reason to
expect that a saving of human life will be thus realised,--an advantage
over and above the deliverance from pain and terror.

So the invention of etherisation deserves to be rated as a signal
benefit to humanity. Nor is it to be lost sight of, that the invention
is quite in its infancy; and that any sound objections which may, at
present, be raised against it, are not unlikely to be obviated through
the modifications and improvements of which it is no doubt susceptible.
The amount of success already obtained, may further be deemed sufficient
to make us secure that the object of extinguishing the sufferings of
surgery will never _again_ be lost sight of by the medical profession
and the public. One item, partial indeed, but a tolerably severe one, in
the catalogue of the physical ills to which flesh is heir, is thus so
far in a fair way of being got rid of.

The method of Mesmer was an attempt to cure bodily disease by making a
forcible impression on the nerves. And no doubt can be entertained that
many of his patients were the better for the violent succussion of the
system which his developed practice put them through.

But mesmerism contained two things,--a bold empirical practice and a
mystical theory. Mesmer strove, by the latter, to explain the effects
which his practice produced. An odd fate his method and his theory will
have had. His method was considered, by many of his contemporaries, as
of solid importance; his theory was for the most part ridiculed as that
of a half-crazed enthusiast and impostor. Now, no reasonable person can
regard his practice in any other light than as a rough and hazardous
experiment. But his theory, in the mean time, is ceasing to be absurd;
for it admits of being represented as a very respectable anticipation of
Von Reichenbach's recent discoveries.

Mesmer, a native of Switzerland, was born in 1734. He became a student
at Vienna, where his turn for the mystical led him to the studies of
alchemy and astrology. In the year 1766, he published a treatise on the
influence of the planets upon the human frame. It contains the idea that
a force extends throughout space through which the stars can affect the
body. In attempting to identify this force, Mesmer first supposed it to
be electricity. Afterwards, about the year 1773, he adopted the belief
that it must be ordinary magnetism. So at Vienna, from 1773 to 1775, he
employed the practice of stroking diseased parts of the body with
magnets. But, in 1776, making a tour in Bavaria and Switzerland, he fell
in with the notorious Father Gassner, who had at that time undertaken
the cure of the blind prince-bishop of Ratisbon by exorcism. Then Mesmer
observed that, without employing magnets, Gassner obtained very much the
same kind of effects upon the human body which he had produced with
their aid. The fact was not lost upon him. He threw away his magnets,
and henceforth operated with the hand alone. In 1777, his reputation a
little damaged by a failure in the case of the musician Paradies, Mesmer
left Vienna, and the following year betook himself to Paris. The great
success which he obtained there drew upon him the indignation and
jealousy of the faculty, who did not scruple to brand him with the
stigma of charlatanism. They averred that he threw difficulties in the
way of a satisfactory examination of his method; but perhaps he had
reason to suspect want of fairness in the proposed inquiry. He refused,
from the government, an offer of twenty thousand francs to divulge his
method; but he was ready to explain it, it is true, under a pledge of
secresy, to individuals for one hundred louis. But his practice itself
gave most support to the allegations against him. His patients were
received and treated with an air of mystery and studied effect. The
apartment, hung on every side with mirrors, was dimly lighted. A
profound silence was observed, broken only by strains of music, which
occasionally floated through the rooms. The patients were arranged
around a large vessel, which contained a heterogeneous mixture of
chemical ingredients. With this and with each other, they were placed in
relation, by holding cords or jointed rods; and among them moved slowly
and mysteriously Mesmer himself, affecting one by a touch, another by a
look, a third by continued stroking with the hand, a fourth by pointing
at him with a rod.

What followed is easily conceivable from the scenes referred to in my
last letter, which are witnessed at religious revivals. One person
became hysterical, then another; one was seized with catalepsy, then
others; some with convulsions; some with palpitations of the heart,
perspirations, and other bodily disturbances. These effects, however
various and different, went all by the name of "salutary crises." The
method was supposed to produce, in the sick person, exactly the kind of
action propitious to his recovery. And it may easily be imagined that
many patients found themselves better after a course of this rude
empiricism; and that the impression made by these events, passing daily
in Paris, must have been very considerable. To the ignorant the scene
was full of wonderment.

To ourselves, regarding it from our present vantage-ground, it contains
absolutely nothing of the marvellous. We discern the means which were in
operation, and which are theoretically sufficient to produce the result.
Those means consisted in,--first, high-wrought expectation and excited
fancy, enough alone to set some of the most excitable into
fits;--secondly, the contagious power of nervous disorder to cause the
like disorder in others, a power augmenting with the number of persons
infected;--thirdly, the physical influence upon the body of the _Od
force_ discovered by Von Reichenbach, which is produced in abundance by
chemical decomposition, which can be communicated to, and conveyed by
inanimate conductors, and which finally emanates with great vivacity
from the subtle chemistry of the living human frame itself. The reality
of this third cause you must allow me to take for granted without
farther explanation. Von Reichenbach's papers, the credit of which is
guaranteed by their publication in Liebig and Wöhler's Annals of
Chemistry, have been now some time translated into English, and are in
the hands of most English readers.

It is remarkable that Jussieu, the most competent judge in the
commission which, in 1784 condemned mesmerism as a scientific
imposition, was so much struck with the effects he witnessed, that he
recommended the subject, nevertheless, to the farther investigation of
medical men. His objections were to the theory. He laid it down, in the
separate report which he made, that the only physical cause in operation
was animal heat; curiously overlooking the point, that common heat was
not capable of doing the same things, and that, therefore, the effects
_must be owing to the agency of that something else_ which animal heat
contained in addition to common heat.

It is unnecessary to follow Mesmer through his minor performances. The
relief sometimes obtained by stroking diseased parts with the hand had
before been proclaimed by Dr Greatorex, whose pretensions had no less an
advocate than the Honourable Robert Boyle. The extraordinary tales of
Mesmer's immediate and instantaneous personal power over individuals are
probably part exaggeration, part the real result of his confidence and
practice in the use of the means he wielded. Mesmer died in 1815.

Among his pupils, when at the zenith of his fame, was the Marquis de
Puységur. Returning from serving at the siege of Gibraltar, this young
officer found mesmerism the mode at Paris, and appears to have become,
for no other reason, one of the initiated. At the end of the course of
instruction, he professed himself to be no wiser than when he began; and
he ridiculed the credulity and the faith of his brothers, who were
stanch adherents of the new doctrine. However he did not forget his
lesson; and on going, the same spring, to his estate at Basancy, near
Soissons, he took occasion to mesmerise the daughter of his agent, and
another young person, for the toothach, who declared themselves, in a
few minutes, cured. This questionable success was sufficient to lead M.
de Puységur, a few days after, to try his hand on a young peasant of the
name of Victor, who was suffering with a severe fluxion upon the chest.
What was M. de Puységur's surprise when, at the end of a few minutes,
Victor went off into a kind of tranquil sleep, without crisis or
convulsion, and in that sleep began to gesticulate, and talk, and enter
into his private affairs. Then he became sad; and M. de Puységur tried
mentally to inspire him with cheerful thoughts; he hummed a lively tune
to himself, _inaudibly_, and immediately Victor began to sing the air.
Victor remained asleep for an hour, and awoke composed, with his
symptoms mitigated.

The case of Victor revolutionised the art of mesmerism. The large part
of his life in which M. Puységur had nothing to do but to follow this
vein of inquiry, was occupied in practising and advocating a gentle
manipulation to induce sleep, in preference to the more violent crises.
I have no plea for telling you how M. de Puységur served in the first
French revolutionary armies; how he quitted the service in disgust; how
narrowly he escaped the guillotine; how he lived in retirement
afterwards, benevolently endeavouring to do good to his sick neighbours
by mesmerism; how he survived the Restoration; and how, finally, he died
of a cold caught by serving again in the encampment at Rheims to assist
as an old _militaire_ at the _sacre_ of Charles X.

For he had, to use the phrase of the moment, fulfilled his mission the
day that he put Victor to sleep. He had made a vast stride in advance of
his teacher. Not but that Mesmer must frequently have produced the same
effect, but _he_ had passed it over unheeded, as one only of the
numerous forms of salutary crisis; nor that M. de Puységur himself
estimated, or that the knowledge had then been brought together which
would have enabled him to estimate, the value, or the real nature and
meaning, of the step which he had made. To himself he appeared to be
largely extending the domain of mesmerism, of which he had, in truth,
discovered and gone beyond the limits.

The state which he had so promptly and fortunately induced in Victor,
was _neither more nor less than common trance_--the commonest form,
perhaps, of the great family of nervous disorders, to which ordinary
sleep-walking belongs, and of which I have already sketched the
divisions and relations in the fifth letter of this series. All that
remains, combining originality and value, of Mesmer's art, is, that it
furnishes the surest method of inducing this particular condition of the
system. Employed with collateral means calculated to shake the nerves
and excite the imagination, mesmerism causes the same variety of
convulsive and violent seizures which extremes of fanatical frenzy
excite; when it is employed in a gentle form and manner, with
accessaries that only soothe and tranquillise, the most plain and
unpretending form of trance quietly steps upon the scene.

Perhaps you will wonder that I seem to attach so much importance to the
power which mesmerism offers us, of producing at pleasure mere ordinary
trance; and, unluckily, it is easy to overrate that importance; because,
for any plan we are yet in possession of, the induction of trance,
through mesmerism, is, in truth, a very uncertain and capricious affair.
It is but a limited number of persons who can be affected by mesmerism;
and the good to be obtained from the process is proportionately limited.

The first object to which artificial induction of trance may be turned,
is the cure or alleviation of certain forms of disease.

It has been mentioned that in many so-called cataleptic cases, a
condition of violent spasm is constantly present, _except_ when the
patient falls into an alternative state of trance. _The spontaneous
supervention of trance relieves the spasm._

I mentioned, too, in the fifth letter of this series, the case of Henry
Engelbrecht, who, after a life of asceticism, and a week of nearly total
abstinence, fell into a death-trance. _On waking from it, he felt
refreshed and stronger._

These results are quite intelligible. In trance, the nervous system is
put _out of gear_. The strain of its functions is suspended. Now,
perhaps for the first time since birth, the nervous system, a part or
the whole, experiences entire repose. The effect of this must be as
soothing to it, as is to a diseased joint the disposing it in a relaxed
position on a pillow. In this state of profound rest, it is natural that
the nervous system should recruit its forces; that if previously weak
and irritable, it should emerge from the trance stronger and more
composed; that the induction of trance many days repeated, and
maintained daily an hour or more, should finally enable the nerves to
recover any extent of mere loss of tone, with its dependent morbid
excitability, and to shake off various forms of disorder dependent upon
that cause. So might it be expected, that epilepsy, that hysteric and
cataleptic fits, that nervous palsy, that tic-doloreux, when caused by
no structural impairment of organ, should get weak under the use of this
means--other means, of course, not being thereby excluded, which
peculiar features of individual cases render advisable. And experience
justifies this reasonable anticipation. And it is found practically
that, for purely nervous disorders, the artificial induction of trance
is, generally speaking, the most efficient remedy. Nay, in cases of a
more serious complexion, where organic disease exists, some unnecessary
suffering and superfluous nervous irritability may be thus allayed and
discarded. Even more may be said in favour of the availability of this
practice. There are few diseases of any kind, and of other parts, in
which the nervous system does not, primarily or secondarily, become
implicated. And so far does disease in general contain an element which
often may be reached and modified with salutary effect, through the
means I am now advocating. When the prejudices of medical men against
the artificial induction of trance have subsided, and its sanative
agency has been fairly tried, and diligently studied, there is no doubt
it will take a high rank among the resources of medicine.

In surgery, artificial trance is capable of playing a not less important
part than in medicine.

For, as it has been already mentioned, an ordinary feature of trance is
the entire suspension of common feeling. As long as the trance is
maintained, the patient is impassive to all common impressions on the
touch; the smartest electric shock, a feather introduced into the nose,
burning, or cutting with a knife, excite no sensation. So that surgical
operations may be performed without suffering during trance just as in
the stupor produced by the ether inhalation. Then, as trance soothes the
nerves, the patient, over and above the extinction of pain, is in a
fitter state than otherwise for the infliction of physical violence.
Likewise the trance may be induced not only at the time of the
operation, but with equal safety on all the subsequent occasions when
the wound has to be disturbed and dressed,--so that, in addition, all
the after suffering attendant upon great operations may be thus avoided.
The drawback against the method, is the uncertainty there exists of
being able to induce trance artificially in any given case. But the
trial is always worth making; and the number who can, with a little
patience, be put thus as it were to sleep, is undoubtedly greater than
is imagined.

The most celebrated case in which an operation has been performed upon a
patient in the state of artificial trance, is that of Madame Plantin.
She was sixty-four years of age, and laboured under scirrhus of the
breast. She was prepared for the operation by M. Chapélain, who on
several successive days threw her into trance by the ordinary mesmeric
manipulations. She was _then_ like an ordinary sleep-walker, and would
converse with indifference about the contemplated operation, the idea of
which, when she was in her natural state, filled her with terror. The
operation of removing the diseased breast was performed at Paris on the
12th of April 1829, by M. Jules Cloquet: it lasted from ten to twelve
minutes. During the whole of this time, the patient _in her trance_
conversed calmly with M. Cloquet, and exhibited not the slightest sign
of suffering. Her expression of countenance did not change, nor were the
voice, the breathing, or the pulse, at all affected. After the wound was
dressed, the patient was awakened from the trance, when, on learning
that the operation was over, and seeing her children round her, Madame
Plantin was affected with considerable emotion: whereupon M. Chapélain,
to compose her, put her back into the state of trance.

I copy the above particulars from Dr Foissac's "_Rapports et Discussions
de l'Academie Royale de Medicine sur le Magnetisme Animal_."--Paris,
1833. "My friend, Dr Warren of Boston, informed me that, being at Paris,
he had asked M. Jules Cloquet if the story were true. M. Cloquet
answered, "Perfectly." "Then why," said Dr Warren, "have you not
repeated the practice?" M. Cloquet replied, "that he had not dared: that
the prejudice against mesmerism was so strong at Paris, that he
probably would have lost his reputation and his income by so doing."

Here, then, we discover two purposes of partial, indeed, but signal
utility, compassable by the induction of trance, at the very outset of
our inquiry into its utility. It will appear by-and-by that this
resource promises to afford yet farther assistance to the physician. In
the mean time, let us look at a relation of the subject which may appear
more interesting to the general reader.

It has been mentioned that, in ordinary trance, the relations of
consciousness to the nervous system are altered; that the laws of
sensation and perception are suspended, or temporarily changed; that the
mind appears to gain new powers. For a long time we had to trust to the
chance turning up of cases of spontaneous trance, in the experience of
physicians of observation, for any light we could hope would be thrown
on those extraordinary phenomena. Now we possess around us, on every
side, adequate opportunities for completely elucidating these events, if
we please to employ them. The philosopher, when his speculations suggest
a new question to be put, can summon the attendance of a trance, as
easily as the Jupiter of the Iliad summoned a dream. Or, looking out for
two or three cases to which the induction of trance may be beneficial,
the physician may have in his house subjects for perpetual reference and
daily experiment.

A gentleman with whom I have long been well acquainted, for many years
Chairman of the Quarter Sessions in a northern county, of which the last
year he was High Sheriff, has, like M. de Puységur, amused some of his
leisure hours, and benevolently done not a little good, by taking the
trouble of mesmerising invalids, whom he has thus restored to health. In
constant correspondence with, and occasionally having the pleasure of
seeing this gentleman, I have learned from him the common course in
which the new powers of the mind which belong to trance are developed
under its artificial induction. The sketch which I propose to give of
this subject will be taken on his descriptions, which, I should observe,
tally in all essential points with what I meet with in French and German
authors. The little that I have myself seen of the matter, I will
mention preliminarily; the most astounding things, it appears to me
safer to shelter under the authority of Petetin, who, towards the close
of the last century, _in ignorance of mesmerism_, described these
phenomena _as they came before him spontaneously in catalepsy_.

The method of inducing trance that is found to be most successful, is to
sit immediately fronting, and close to the patient, holding his hands or
thumbs, or pointing the extended hands towards his forehead, and slowly
moving them in passes down his face, shoulders, and arms. It is now
clear that the force brought into operation on this occasion, is the Od
force of Von Reichenbach. So the patients sometimes speak of seeing the
luminous aura proceeding from the finger-points of the operator, which
Von Reichenbach's performers described. There are many who are utterly
insensible to this agency. Others are sensible of it in slight, and in
various ways. A small proportion, three in ten perhaps, are susceptible
to the extent of being thrown into trance.

In some, a common fit of hysterics is produced. In others, slight
headach, and a sense of weight on the eyebrows, and difficulty of
raising the eyelids supervene.

In one young woman, whom I saw mesmerized for the first time by Dupotel,
nothing resulted but a sense of pricking and tingling wherever he
pointed with his hand; and her arm on one or two occasions jumped in the
most natural and conclusive manner, when, her eyes being covered, he
directed his outstretched finger to it.

A gentleman, about thirty years of age, when the mesmerizer held his
outstretched hands pointed to his head, experienced no disposition to
sleep; but in two or three minutes, he began to shake his head and twist
his features about; at last, his head was jerked from side to side, and
forwards and backwards, with a violence that looked alarming. But he
said, when it was over, that the motion had not been unpleasant; that he
had moved in a sort voluntarily; although he could not refrain from it.
If the hands of the operator were pointed to his arm instead of his
head, the same violent jerks came in it, and gradually extended to the
whole body. I asked him to try to resist the influence, by holding his
arm out in strong muscular tension. This had the effect of retarding the
attack of the jerks, but, when it came on, it was more violent than

A servant of mine, aged about twenty-five, was mesmerized by Lafontaine,
for a full half hour, and, no effect appearing to be produced, I told
him he might rise from the chair, and leave us. On getting up, he looked
uneasy and said his arms wore numb. They were perfectly paralysed from
the elbows downwards, and numb to the shoulders. This was the more
satisfactory, that neither the man himself, nor Lafontaine, nor the four
or five spectators, expected this result. The operator triumphantly drew
a pin and stuck-it into the man's hand, which bled but had no feeling.
Then heedlessly, to show it gave pain, Lafontaine stuck the pin into the
man's thigh, whose flashing eye, and half suppressed growl, denoted that
the aggression would certainly have been returned by another, had the
arm which should have done it not been really powerless. However, M.
Lafontaine made peace with the man, by restoring him the use and feeling
of his arms. This was done by dusting them, as it were, by quick
transverse motions of his extended hands. In five minutes nothing
remained of the palsy but a slight stiffness, which gradually wore off
in the course of the evening.

Genuine and ordinary trance, I have seen produced by the same
manipulations in from three minutes, to half an hour. The patient's
eyelids have dropped, he has appeared on the point of sleeping, but he
has not sunk back upon his chair; then he has continued to sit upright,
and seemingly perfectly insensible to the loudest sound or the acutest
and most startling impressions on the sense of touch. The pulse is
commonly a little increased in frequency; the breathing is sometimes
heavier than usual.

Occasionally, as in Victor's case, the patient quickly and spontaneously
emerges from the state of trance-sleep into trance half-waking; a
rapidity of development which I am persuaded occurs much more frequently
among the French than with the English or Germans. English patients,
especially, for the most part require a long course of education, many
sittings, to have the same powers drawn out. And these are by far the
most interesting cases. I will describe from Mr Williamson's account,
the course he has usually followed in developing his patient's powers,
and the order in which they have manifested themselves.

On the first day, perhaps, nothing can be elicited. But after some
minutes the stupor seems as it were less embarrassing to the patient,
who appears less heavily slumbrous, and breathes lighter again; or it
may be the reverse, particularly if the patient is epileptic; after a
little, the breathing may be deeper, the state one of less composure.
Pointing with the hands to the pit of the stomach, laying the hands upon
the shoulders, and slowly moving them on the arms down to the hands, the
whole with the utmost quietude and composure on the part of the
operator, will dispel the oppression.

And the interest of the first sitting is confined to the process of
awakening the patient, which is one of the most marvellous phenomena of
the whole. The operator lays his two thumbs on the space between the
eyebrows, and as it were vigorously smooths or irons his eyebrows,
rubbing them from within, outwards seven or eight times. Upon this, the
patient probably raises his head and his eyebrows, and draws a deeper
breath as if he would yawn; he is half awake, and blowing upon the
eyelids, or the repetition of the previous operation, or dusting the
forehead by smart transverse wavings of the hand, or blowing upon it,
causes the patient's countenance to become animated; the eyelids open,
he looks about him, recognises you, and begins to speak. If any feeling
of heaviness remains, any weight or pain of the forehead, another
repetition of the same manipulations sets all right. And yet this
patient would not have been awakened, if a gun had been fired at his
ear, or his arm had been cut off.

At the next sitting, or the next to that, the living statue begins to
wake in its tranced life. The operator holds one hand over the opposite
hand of his patient, and makes as if he would draw the patient's hand
upwards, raising his own with short successive jerks, yet not too
abrupt. Then the patient's hand begins to follow his; and often having
ascended some inches, stops in the air cataleptic. This fixed state is
always relieved by transverse brushings with the hand, or by breathing
in addition, on the rigid limb. And it is most curious to see the whole
bodily frame, over which spasmodic rigidness may have crept, thus thawed
joint by joint. Then the first effect shown commonly is this motion, the
patient's hand following the operator's. At the same sitting, he begins
to hear, and there is intelligence in his countenance, when the operator
pronounces his name: perhaps his lips move, and he begins to answer
pertinently as in ordinary sleep-walking. But he hears the operator
alone best, and him even in a whisper. _Your_ voice, if you shout, he
does not hear: unless you take the operator's hand, and then he hears
_you_ too. In general, however, now the proximity of others seems in
some way to be sensible to him; and he appears uneasy when they crowd
close upon him. It seems that the force of the relation between the
operator and his patient naturally goes on increasing, as the powers of
the sleep-walker are developed; but that this is not necessarily the
case, and depends upon its being encouraged by much commerce between
them, and the exclusion of others from joining in this trance-communion.

And now the patient--beginning to wake in trance, hearing and answering
the questions of the operator, moving each limb, or rising even, as the
operator's hand is raised to draw him into obedient following--enters
into a new relation with his mesmeriser. He _adopts sympathetically
every voluntary movement of the other_. When the latter rises from his
chair, _he_ rises; when he sits down, _he_ sits down; if he bows, _he_
bows; if he make a grimace, _he_ makes the same. Yet his eyes are
closed. He certainly does not see. His mind has interpenetrated to a
small extent the nervous system of the operator; and is in relation with
his voluntary nerves and the anterior half of his cranio-spinal chord.
(These are the organs by which the impulse to voluntary motion is
conveyed and originated.) Farther into the other's being, he has not yet
got. So he does not _what the other thinks of, or wishes him to do_; but
only what the other either does, or goes through the mental part of
doing. So Victor sang the air, which M. de Puységur only mentally

The next strange phenomenon marks that the mind of the untranced patient
has interpenetrated the nervous system of the other _a step farther_,
and is in relation besides with the posterior half of the cranio-spinal
chord and its nerves. For now the entranced person, who has no feeling,
or taste, or smell of his own, _feels, tastes, and smells every thing
that is made to tell on the senses of the operator_. If mustard or sugar
be put in his own mouth, he seems not to know that they are there; if
mustard is placed on the tongue of the operator, the entranced person
expresses great disgust, and tries as if to spit it out. The same with
bodily pain. If you pluck a hair from the operator's head, the other
complains of the pain you give _him_.

To state in the closest way what has happened--the phenomena of
sympathetic motion and sympathetic sensation, thus displayed, are
exactly such as might be expected to follow, if the mind or conscious
principle of the entranced person were brought into relation with the
cranio-spinal chord of the operator and its nerves, and with no farther
portion of his nervous system. Later, it will be seen the
interpenetration can extend farther.

But before this happens, a new phenomenon manifests itself, not of a
sympathetic character. The operator contrives to wake the entranced
person to the knowledge that he possesses new faculties. _He develops in
him new organs of sensation_, or rather helps to hasten his recognition
of their possession.

It is to be observed, however, that many and many who can be thrown into
trance will not progress so far as to the present step. Others make a
tantalising half advance towards reaching it _thus_; and then stop. They
are asked, "Do you see any thing?" After some days at length, they
answer, "Yes"--"What?" "A light." "Where is the light?" Then they
intimate its place to be either before them, or at the crown of the
head, or behind one ear, or quite behind the head. And they describe the
colour of the light, which is commonly yellow. And each day it occupies
the same direction, and is seen equally when the room is light or dark.
Their eyes in the mean time are closed. And here, with many, the
phenomenon stops.

But, with others, it goes thus strangely farther. In this light they
begin to discern objects, or they see whatever is presented to them in
the direction in which the light lies, whether before the forehead or at
the crown of the head, or wherever it may be. Sometimes the range of
this new sense is very limited, and the object to be seen must be held
near to the new organ. Sometimes it must touch it; generally, however,
the sense commands what the eye would, if it were placed there.

One tries first to escape the improbability of an extempore organ of
sense being thus established, by supposing that the mind of the
entranced person has only penetrated a little deeper than before into
yours, and perceives what you see. But I had the following experiment
made, which excludes this solution of the phenomenon. The party standing
behind the entranced person, whose use it was to see with the back of
her head, held behind him a pack of cards, and then, drawing one of
them, presented it, without seeing it himself, to her new organ of
vision. She named the card justly each time the experiment was repeated.

The degree of light suiting this new vision varies in different cases:
sometimes bright daylight is best; generally they prefer a moderate
light. Some distinguish objects and colours in a light so obscure that
the standers-by cannot distinguish the same with their eyes.

The above phenomena have been, over and over again, verified by the
gentleman whom I before referred to, Mr J. W. Williamson of Whickham;
and not only have I received the accounts of them from himself, but from
two other gentlemen, who repeatedly witnessed their manifestation in
patients at Mr Williamson's residence.

A parallel transposition of the sense of hearing I will exemplify from
the details of a case of catalepsy, or spontaneous trance, as they are
given by the observer, Dr Petetin, an eminent civil and military
physician of Lyons, where he was president of the Medical Society. The
work in which they are given is entitled, "Memoire sur la Catalepsie.

M. Petetin attended a young married lady in a sort of fit. She lay
seemingly unconscious; when he raised her arm, it remained in the air
where he placed it. Being put to bed, she commenced singing. To stop
her, the doctor placed her limbs each in a different position. This
embarrassed her considerably, but she went on singing. She seemed
perfectly insensible. Pinching the skin, shouting in her ear, nothing
aroused attention. Then it happened that, in arranging her, the doctor's
foot slipped; and, as he recovered himself, half leaning over her, he
said, "how provoking we can't make her leave off singing!" "Ah, doctor,"
she cried, "don't be angry! I won't sing any more," and she stopped. But
shortly she began again; and in vain did the doctor implore her, by the
loudest entreaties, addressed to her ear, to keep her promise and
desist. It then occurred to him to place himself in the same position as
when she heard him before. He raised the bed-clothes, bent his head
towards her stomach, and said, in a loud voice, "Do you, then, mean to
sing forever?" "Oh, what pain you have given me!" she exclaimed--"I
implore you speak lower;" at the same time she passed her hand over the
pit of her stomach. "In what way, then, do you hear?" said Dr Petetin.
"Like any one else," was the answer. "But I am speaking to your
stomach." "Is it possible!" she said. He then tried again whether she
could hear with her ears, speaking even through a tube to aggravate his
voice;--she heard nothing. On his asking her, at the pit of her stomach,
if she had not heard him,--"No," said she, "I am indeed unfortunate."

A cognate phenomenon to the above is _the conversion of the patient's
new sense of vision in a direction inwards_. He looks into himself, and
sees his own inside as it were illuminated or transfigured.

A few days after the scone just described, Dr Petetin's patient had
another attack of catalepsy. She still heard at the pit of her stomach,
but the manner of hearing was modified. In the mean time her countenance
expressed astonishment. Dr Petetin inquired the cause. "It is not
difficult," she answered, "to explain to you why I look astonished. I am
singing, doctor, to divert my attention from a sight which appals me. I
see my inside, and the strange forms of the organs, surrounded with a
network of light. My countenance must express what I feel,--astonishment
and fear. A physician who should have my complaint for a quarter of an
hour would think himself fortunate, as nature would reveal all her
secrets to him. If he was devoted to his profession, he would not, as I
do, desire to be quickly well." "Do you see your heart?" asked Dr
Petetin. "Yes, there it is; it beats at twice; the two sides in
agreement; when the upper part contracts, the lower part swells, and
immediately after that contracts. The blood rushes out all luminous, and
issues by two great vessels which are but a little apart."

There are many cases like the above on record, perfectly attested. There
is no escaping from the facts. We have no resource but to believe them.
Things if possible still more marvellous remain behind. The more
advanced patient penetrates the sensoria of those around her, and knows
their thoughts and all the folds of their characters. She is able,
farther, to perceive objects, directly, at considerable--indefinite
distances. She can foresee coming events in her own health. Finally, she
can feel and discern by a kind of intuition, what is the matter with
another person either brought into her presence, or who is, in certain
other ways, identified by her. As the evidence of the possession of
these faculties by entranced persons is complete, and admits of no
question, an important use, I repeat, of the artificial induction of
trance is, that it will multiply occasions of sifting this extraordinary
field of psychological inquiry.

In the mean time I will not trespass upon your patience farther, nor
weary you with farther instances, beyond giving the sequel of the case
of catalepsy of which I have above mentioned some particulars. You will
see in it a shadowing out of most of the other powers, which I have said
are occasionally manifested by persons in trance, which sometimes attain
an extraordinary vigour and compass, and which are maintained, or are
maintainable, for several years, being manifested for that time, though
not without caprice and occasional entire failures, on the patient
reverting to the entranced condition. One of the most interesting
features in what follows is, that it is evident M. Petetin was entirely
unacquainted with mesmerism; and, at the same time, that he had all but
discovered and developed the art of mesmeric manipulation himself.

The following morning, (to give the latter part of the case of
catalepsy,) the access of the fit took place, according to custom, at
eight o'clock in the morning. Petetin arrived later than usual; he
announced himself by speaking to the fingers of the patient, (by which
he was heard.) "You are a very lazy person this morning, doctor," said
she. "It is true, madam; but if you knew the reason, you would not
reproach me." "Ah," said she, "I perceive, you have had a headach for
the last four hours; it will not leave you till six in the evening. You
are right to take nothing; no human means can prevent its running its
course." "Can you tell me on which side is the pain?" said Petetin. "On
the right side; it occupies the temple, the eye, the teeth: I warn you
that it will invade the left eye, and that you will suffer considerably
between three and four o'clock; at six you will be free from pain." The
prediction came out literally true. "If you wish me to believe you, you
must tell me what I hold in my hand?" "I see through your hand an
antique medal."

Petetin inquired of his patient at what hour her own fit would cease:
"at eleven." "And the evening accession, when will it come on?" "At
seven o'clock." "In that case it will be later than usual." "It is true;
the periods of its recurrence are going to change to so and so." During
this conversation, the patient's countenance expressed annoyance. She
then said to M. Petetin, "My uncle has just entered; he is conversing
with my husband, _behind the screen_; his visit will fatigue me, beg him
to go away." The uncle, leaving, took with him by mistake her husband's
cloak, which she perceived, and sent her sister-in-law to reclaim it.

In the evening, there were assembled, in the lady's apartment, a good
number of her relations and friends. Petetin had, intentionally, placed
a letter within his waistcoat, on his heart. He begged permission, on
arriving, to wear his cloak. Scarcely had the lady, the access having
come on, fallen into catalepsy, when she said, "And how long, doctor,
has it come into fashion to wear letters next the heart?" Petetin
pretended to deny the fact; she insisted on her correctness; and,
raising her hands, designated the size, and indicated exactly the place
of the letter. Petetin drew forth the letter, and held it, closed, to
the fingers of the patient. "If I were not a discreet person," she said,
"I should tell the contents; but to show you that I know them, they form
exactly two lines and a half of writing;" which, on opening the letter,
was shown to be the fact.

A friend of the family, who was present, took out his purse and put it
in Dr Petetin's bosom, and folded his cloak over his chest. As soon as
Petetin approached his patient, she told him that he had the purse, and
named its exact contents. She then gave an inventory of the contents of
the pockets of all present; adding some pointed remark when the
opportunity offered. She said to her sister-in-law that the most
interesting thing in _her_ possession was a letter;--much to her
surprise, for she had received the letter the same evening and had
mentioned it to no one.

The patient, in the mean time, lost strength daily, and could take no
food. The means employed failed of giving her relief, and it never
occurred to M. Petetin to inquire of her how he should treat her. At
length, with some vague idea that she suffered from too great electric
tension of the brain, he tried, fantastically enough, the effect of
making deep inspirations, standing close in front of the patient. No
effect followed from this absurd proceeding. _Then he placed one hand on
the forehead, the other on the pit of the stomach of the patient_, and
continued his inspirations. The patient now opened her eyes; her
features lost their fixed look; she rallied rapidly from the fit, which
lasted but a few minutes instead of the usual period of two hours more.
In eight days, under a pursuance of this treatment, she entirely
recovered from her fits, and with them ceased her extraordinary powers.
But, during these eight days, her powers manifested a still greater
extension; she foretold what was going to happen to her; she discussed,
with astonishing subtlety, questions of mental philosophy and
physiology; she caught what those around her meant to say, before they
expressed their wishes, and either did what they desired, or begged that
they would not ask her to do what was beyond her strength.

In conclusion, let me animadvert upon the injustice with which, to its
own loss, society has treated mesmerism. The use of mesmerism in nervous
disorders, its use towards preventing suffering in surgical operations,
have been denied and scoffed at in the teeth of positive evidence. The
supposition of physical influence existing that can emanate from one
human being and affect the nerves of another, was steadily combated as a
gratuitous fiction, till Von Reichenbach's discoveries demonstrated its
soundness. And, finally, the marvels of _clairvoyance_ were considered
an absolute proof of the visionary character of animal magnetism,
because the world was ignorant that they occur independently of that
influence, which only happens to be one of the modes of inducing the
condition of trance in which they spontaneously manifest themselves.
Adieu, dear Archy.

Yours, &c.



Whatever may be the pursuits of our posterity, whether the mind of
nations will turn on philosophy or politics, whether on a descent to the
centre of the earth, or on the model of a general Utopia--whether on a
telegraphic correspondence with the new planet, by a galvanised wire two
thousand eight hundred and fifty millions of miles long, or on a
Chartist government--we have not the slightest reason to doubt, that our
generation will be regarded as having lived in the most brilliant time
of the by-gone world.

The years from 1789 to 1815 unquestionably include the most stirring
period since the great primal convulsion, that barbarian deluge, which
changed the face of Europe in the fifth century. But the vengeance which
called the Vandal from his forest to crush the Roman empire, and after
hewing down the Colossus which, for seven hundred years, had bestrode
the world, moulded kingdoms out of its fragments, was of a totally
different order from that which ruled over our great day of Change. In
that original revolution, man, as the individual, was scarcely more than
the sufferer. It was a vast outburst of force, as uncircumscribed as
uncontrollable, and as unconnected with motives merely human, as an
inroad of the ocean. It was a vast expanse of human existence, rushing
surge on surge over the barriers of fair and fertile empire. It was
hunger, and love of seizure, and hot thirst of blood, embodied in a mass
of mankind rushing down upon luxury and profligacy, and governmental
incapacity embodied in other masses of mankind. An invasion from the
African wilderness with all its lions and leopards in full roar, could
scarcely have less been urged by motives of human nature.

But the great revolution which in our time shook Europe, and is still
spreading its shock to the confines of the world, was _human_ in the
most remarkable degree. It was the work of impulses fierce and wild, yet
peculiarly belonging to man. It was a succession of lights and shadows
of human character, contrasted in the most powerful degree, as they
passed before the eye of Europe--the ambition of man, the rage of man,
the voluptuousness, the ferocity, the gallantry, and the fortitude of
man, in all the varieties of human character. It was man in the robes of
tragedy, comedy, and pantomime, but it was every where _man_. Every
great event on which the revolution was suspended for the time,
originated with some remarkable individual, and took its shape even from
some peculiarity in that individual.

Thus, the period of mob-massacre began with the sudden ascendency of
Marat--a hideous assassin, who regarded the knife as the only instrument
of governing, and proclaimed as his first principle of political
regeneration, that "half a million of heads must fall."

The second stage, the Reign of Terror, began with Robespierre, a village
lawyer; in whose mingled cruelty and craft originated the bloody
mockeries of that "Revolutionary Tribunal," which, under the semblance
of trial, sent all the accused to the guillotine, and in all the
formalities of justice committed wholesale murder.

The third stage was the reign of the Directory--the work of the
voluptuous Barras--and reflecting his profligacy in all the
dissoluteness of a government of plunder and confiscation, closing in
national debauchery and decay.

The final stage was War--under the guidance of a man whose whole
character displayed the most prominent features of soldiership. From
that moment, the republic bore the sole impress of war. France had
placed at her head the most impetuous, subtle, ferocious, and
all-grasping, of the monarchs of mankind. She instantly took the shape
which, like the magicians of old commanding their familiar spirits, the
great magician of our age commanded her to assume. Peace--the rights of
man--the mutual ties of nations--the freedom of the serf and the
slave--the subversion of all the abuses of the ancient thrones--all the
old nominal principles of revolutionary patriotism, were instantly
thrown aside, like the rude weapons of a peasant insurrection, the pike
and the ox-goad, for the polished and powerful weapons of royal
armouries. In all the conquests of France the serf and the slave were
left in their chains; the continental kingdoms, bleeding by the sword
until they lay in utter exhaustion, were suffered to retain all their
abuses; the thrones, stripped of all their gold and jewels, were yet
suffered to stand. Every pretext of moral and physical redress was
contemptuously abandoned, and France herself exhibited the most singular
of all transformations.--The republic naked, frantic, and covered with
her own gore, was suddenly seen robed in the most superb investitures of
monarchy; assuming the most formal etiquette of empire, and covered with
royal titles. This was the most extraordinary change in the
recollections of history, and for the next hundred, or for the next
thousand years, it will excite wonder. But the whole period will be to
posterity what Virgil describes the Italian plains to have been to the
peasant of his day, a scene of gigantic recollections; as, turning up
with the ploughshare the site of ancient battles, he finds the remnants
of a race of bolder frame and more trenchant weapons--the weightier
sword and the mightier arm.

What the next age may develop in the arts of life, or the knowledge of
nature, must remain in that limbo of vanity, to which Ariosto consigned
embryo politicians, and Milton consigned departed friars--the world of
the moon. But it will scarcely supply instances of more memorable
individual faculties, or of more powerful effects produced by those
faculties. The efforts of Conspiracy and Conquest in France, the efforts
of Conservatism and Constitution in England, produced a race of men whom
nothing but the crisis could have produced, and who will find no rivals
in the magnitude of their capacities, the value of their services, in
their loftiness of principle, and their influence on their age; until
some similar summons shall be uttered to the latent powers of mankind,
from some similar crisis of good and evil. The eloquence of Burke, Pitt,
Fox, and a crowd of their followers, in the senate of England, and the
almost fiendish vividness of the republican oratory, have remained
without equals, and almost without imitators--the brilliancy of French
soldiership, in a war which swept Europe with the swiftness and the
devastation of a flight of locusts--the British campaigns of the
Peninsula, those most consummate displays of fortitude and decision, of
the science which baffles an enemy, and of the bravery which crushes
him--will be lessons to the soldier in every period to come.

But the foremost figure of the great history-piece of revolution, was
the man, of whose latter hours we are now contemplating. Napoleon may
not have been the ablest statesman, or the most scientific soldier, or
the most resistless conqueror, or the most magnificent monarch of
mankind--but what man of his day so closely combined all those
characters, and was so distinguished in them all? It is idle to call him
the child of chance--it is false to call his power the creation of
opportunity--it is trifling with the common understanding of man, to
doubt his genius. He was one of those few men, who are formed to guide
great changes in the affairs of nations. The celebrity of his early
career, and the support given to him by the disturbances of France, are
nothing in the consideration of the philosopher; or perhaps they but
separate him more widely from the course of things, and assimilate him
more essentially with those resistless influences of nature, which,
rising from we know not what, and operating we know not how, execute the
penalties of Heaven:--those moral pestilences which, like the physical,
springing from some spot of obscurity, and conveyed by the contact of
the obscure, suddenly expand into universal contagion, and lay waste the
mind of nations.

In the earlier volumes of the Journal of Count Montholon, the assistance
of Las Cases was used to collect the imperial _dicta_. But on the
baron's being sent away from St Helena--an object which he appears to
have sought with all the eagerness of one determined to make his escape,
yet equally resolved on turning that escape into a subject of
complaint--the duty of recording Napoleon's opinions devolved on
Montholon. In the year 1818, Napoleon's health began visibly to break.
His communications with O'Meara, the surgeon appointed by the English
government, became more frequent; and as Napoleon was never closely
connected with any individual without an attempt to make him a partisan,
the governor's suspicions were excited by this frequency of intercourse.
We by no means desire to stain the memory of O'Meara (he is since dead)
with any dishonourable suspicion. But Sir Hudson Lowe cannot be blamed
for watching such a captive with all imaginable vigilance. The
recollection of the facility which too much dependance on his honour
gave to Napoleon's escape from Elba, justly sharpened the caution of the
governor. The fear of another European conflagration made the safeguard
of the Ex-Emperor an object of essential policy, not merely to England,
but to Europe; and the probability of similar convulsions rendered his
detention at St Helena as high a duty as ever was intrusted to a British

We are not now about to discuss the charges made against Sir Hudson
Lowe; but it is observable, that they are made solely on the authority
of Napoleon, and of individuals dismissed for taking too strong an
interest in that extraordinary man. Those complaints may be easily
interpreted in the instance of the prisoner, as the results of such a
spirit having been vexed by the circumstances of his tremendous fall;
and also, in the instance of those who were dismissed, as a species of
excuse for the transactions which produced their dismissal. But there
can be no doubt that those complaints had not less the direct object of
keeping the name of the Ex-Emperor before the eyes of Europe; that they
were meant as stimulants to partisanship in France; and that, while they
gratified the incurable bile of the fallen dynasty against England, they
were also directed to produce the effect of reminding the French
soldiery that Napoleon was still in existence.

Yet there was a pettiness in all his remonstrances, wholly inconsistent
with greatness of mind. He thus talks of Sir Hudson Lowe:--

     "I never look on him without being reminded of the assassin of
     Edward II. in the Castle of Berkeley, heating the bar of iron which
     was to be the instrument of his crime. Nature revolts against him.
     In my eyes she seems to have marked him, like Cain, with a seal of

Napoleon's knowledge of history was here shown to be pretty much on a
par with his knowledge of scripture. The doubts regarding the death of
Edward II. had evidently not come to his knowledge; and, so far as Cain
was concerned, the sign was not one of reprobation, but of
protection--it was a mark that "no man should slay him."

But all those complaints were utterly unworthy of a man who had played
so memorable a part in the affairs of Europe. He who had filled the
French throne had seen enough of this world's glory; and he who had
fallen from it had been plunged into a depth of disaster, which ought to
have made him regardless ever after of what man could do to him. A man
of his rank ought to have disdained both the good and ill which he could
receive from the governor of his prison. But he wanted the magnanimity
that bears misfortune well: when he could no longer play the master of
kingdoms, he was content to quarrel about valets; and having lost the
world, to make a little occupation for himself in complaining of the
want of etiquette in his dungeon. But the spirit of the intriguer
survived every other spirit within him, and it is by no means certain
that the return of O'Meara and Gourgaud to Europe was not a part of that
intrigue in which Napoleon played the Italian to the last hour of his
life. It is true that the general returned under a certificate of ill
health, and it is also perfectly possible that the surgeon was
unconscious of the intrigue. But there can be no doubt of the design;
and that design was, to excite a very considerable interest in Europe,
on behalf of the prisoner of St Helena. Gourgaud, immediately after his
arrival, wrote a long letter to Marie Louise, which was palpably
intended more for the Emperors of Russia and Austria than for the
feelings of the Ex-Empress, of whose interest in the matter the world
has had no knowledge whatever.

In this letter it was declared, that Napoleon was dying in the most
frightful and prolonged agony. "Yes, Madame," said this epistle, "he
whom Divine and human laws unite to you by the most sacred ties--he whom
you have beheld an object of homage to almost all the sovereigns of
Europe, and over whose fate I saw you shed so many tears when he left
you, is perishing by a most cruel death--a captive on a rock in the
midst of the ocean, at a distance of two thousand leagues from those
whom he holds most dear."

The letter then proceeds to point out the object of the appeal. "These
sufferings may continue for a long time. There is still time to save
him: the moment seems very favourable. The Sovereigns are about to
assemble at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle--passions seem
calmed--Napoleon is now far from being formidable. In these
circumstances let your Majesty deign to reflect what an effect a great
step on your part would produce--that, for instance, of going to this
Congress, and there soliciting a termination to the Emperor's
sufferings, of supplicating your august father to unite his efforts with
yours, in order to have Napoleon confided to his charge, if policy did
not permit him to be restored to liberty; and how great would be your
Majesty's own happiness: It would be said, the sovereigns of Europe,
after having vanquished the great Napoleon, abandoned him to his most
cruel enemies, they conducted him towards his grave by the most
prolonged and barbarous torments, the continuation of his agony urged
him even to demand more active executioners; he seemed forgotten, and
without hope of aid; but Marie Louise remained to him, and he was
restored to life."

Whether this letter ever reached its address is not clear; but if it
did, it produced no discoverable effect.

But the absence of those confidants increased the troubles of the
unlucky Montholon in a formidable degree, and Napoleon's habit of
dictating his thoughts and recollections, (which he frequently continued
for hours together, and sometimes into the middle of the night,) pressed
heavily on the Count and Bertrand; the latter being excluded after six
in the evening, when the sentinels were posted for the night, as he
resided with his family, and thus devolving the task of the night on
Montholon. Those dictations were sometimes on high questions of state,
and on theories of war; sometimes on matters of the day, as in the
following instance.

The death of the Princess Charlotte, which threw the mind of England
into such distress, had just been made known at St Helena. Napoleon
spoke of it as reminding him of the perilous child-birth of Marie
Louise. "Had it not been for me," said he, "she would have lost her
life, like this poor Princess Charlotte. What a misfortune! young and
beautiful, destined to the throne of a great nation, and to die for want
of proper care on the part of her nearest relations! Where was her
husband? where was her mother? why were they not beside her, as I was
beside Marie Louise? She, too, would have died, had I left her to the
care of the professional people. She owes her life to my being with her
during the whole time of danger; for I shall never forget the moment
when the accoucheur Dubois came to me pale with fright, and hardly able
to articulate, and informed me that a choice must be made between the
life of the mother and that of the child. The peril was imminent; there
was not a moment to be lost in decision. 'Save the mother,' said I--'it
is her right. Proceed just as you would do in the case of a citizen's
wife of the Rue St Denis.' It is a remarkable fact, that this answer
produced an electric effect on Dubois. He recovered his _sang froid_,
and calmly explained to me the causes of the danger. In a quarter of an
hour afterwards, the King of Rome was born; but at first the infant was
believed to be dead, he had suffered so much on coming into the world,
and it was with much difficulty that the physicians recalled him to

It will probably be recollected as a similar instance of the advantage
of care and decision, that Queen Caroline was rescued from the same
hazard. Her accouchment was preceded by great suffering, and her
strength seemed totally exhausted. The attendants were in a state of
extreme alarm, when Lord Thurlow said, in his usual rough way, "Don't
think of princesses here: treat her like the washerwoman, and give her a
glass of brandy." The advice was followed, and the Princess speedily

Connected with the history of this short-lived son, is an anecdote,
which Napoleon related as an instance of his own love of justice. When
the palace was about to be built for the King of Rome at Passy, it was
necessary to purchase some buildings which already stood on the ground.
One of these was a hut belonging to a cooper, which the architects
valued at a thousand francs. But the cooper, resolving to make the most
of his tenure, now demanded ten times the sum. Napoleon ordered the
money to be given to him; but when the contract was brought to him to
sign, the fellow said, that "as an Emperor disturbed him," he ought to
pay for turning him out, and must give him thirty thousand francs. "The
good man is a little exacting," said Napoleon, "still there is some
sense in his argument. Give him the thirty thousand, and let me hear no
more about it." But the cooper, thinking that he had a fine opportunity,
now said that he could not take less than forty thousand. The architect
did not know what to say; he dared not again mention the matter to the
Emperor, and yet it was absolutely necessary to have the house. Napoleon
learned what was passing, and was angry, but allowed the offer of the
forty thousand. Again the dealer retracted, and demanded fifty thousand.
"He is a despicable creature," said the Emperor. "I will have none of
his paltry hut: it shall remain where it is, as a testimony of my
respect for the law."

The works were still going on at the time of the exile, in 1814; and,
the cooper, finding himself in the midst of rubbish and building
materials, groaned over the consequences of his folly, or rather of his
extortion, for he had thus, deservedly, lost the opportunity of making
his fortune.

The death of Cipriani, the _maître d'hôtel_, occurred about this time,
and was startling from its suddenness. He was serving Napoleon's dinner,
when he was attacked by such violent pains, that he was unable to reach
his chamber without assistance. He rolled on the ground, uttering
piercing cries. Four-and-twenty hours afterwards his coffin was carried
to the cemetery of Plantation House! Cipriani had been employed in the
secret police, and had distinguished himself by some difficult missions
in the affairs of Naples and Northern Italy. It was only after the
banishment to Elba that he had formed a part of the household. It was to
Cipriani that the taking of Capri was owing. In 1806, Sir Hudson Lowe
commanded at Capri, as lieutenant-colonel of a legion, composed of
Corsican and Neapolitan deserters. The position of Capri in the Bay of
Naples was of some importance for carrying on communications with those
hostile to the French interest in Italy. Salicetti, prime minister of
Naples, was vainly pondering on the capture of Capri; when it occurred
to him to employ Cipriani, to put it into his power by surprise or
treachery. Among the Corsicans under Sir H. Lowe's command, was one
Suzanelli, a profligate, who had reduced himself by his debaucheries to
acting as a spy. Cipriani soon ascertained that they had been
fellow-students at college.

The whole story is curious, as an instance of the dexterity of Italian
treachery, and of the difficulty which an honest man must always find
in dealing with that people. Cipriani instantly found out Suzanelli,
who was then in Naples, and said, "I know all, but we are
fellow-countrymen--we have eaten the same soup: I do not desire to make
you lose your head: choose between the scaffold, and making your fortune
from your own country.--You are the spy of the English: help me to expel
them from Capri, and your fortune is made. Refuse, and you are my
prisoner, and will be shot within twenty-four hours." "I take your
offer," was the answer. "What do you want with me?" Cipriani proposed to
give him double what he received from the English, on condition of
handing over all the letters which he received for Naples, and
delivering the answers as if he had received them from the writers.
Suzanelli thenceforth communicated all news relative to the movements of
old Queen Caroline, and the British in the Mediterranean. Sir Hudson
Lowe's confidence in Suzanelli was so much increased by the apparently
important communications which the Neapolitan police had purposely made
to him, that he rewarded him profusely, and at length accepted his offer
of furnishing recruits to the Corsican legion at Capri. When the
garrison was corrupted through the medium of those recruits, and an
expedition was prepared at Naples, Suzanelli, in order to hoodwink the
governor of Capri, whose vigilance might be awakened by the
preparations, sent him a detailed report of the strength and object of
the expedition, but telling him that it was meant to attack the Isle of
Ponza. The expedition, under General La Marque, sailed at night, and the
French effected their landing by surprise. The Royal Maltese regiment
contained a great number of Suzanelli's recruits. They laid down their
arms, and surrendered the forts in their charge. The commandant
succeeded with difficulty in shutting himself up in the citadel with the
royal Corsican regiment. It was inaccessible by assault, but the French
dragged some heavy guns to a commanding height, and after a cannonade
the garrison capitulated.

This story is not exactly true; for the capitulation was _not_ the
result of the cannonade; but water and provisions had totally failed.
The attempt made by an English frigate to succour the island had been
frustrated by a violent gale, and there was no resource but to give up
the island. Yet, if our memory is exact, there was _no_ capitulation;
for the garrison escaped without laying down their arms.

It is proverbial, that great events frequently depend upon very little
causes. All the world now blames the precipitancy of Napoleon in leaving
Elba while the Congress was assembled. If he had waited until it was
dissolved, he would have gained all the time which must have been lost
by the Allies in reuniting their councils. The princes and diplomatists
would have been scattered; the armies would have marched homewards;
months would probably have elapsed before they could again have been
brought into the field; and during that period, there would have been
full opportunity for all the arts of intrigue and insinuation, which
Napoleon so well knew how to use. Or, if he had delayed his return for a
twelvemonth longer, he would have only found the obstacles so much the
more diminished. In short, to him, the gain of time was every thing.

His own narrative on the subject now was, that he had been misled; that
he was fully sensible of the advantages of delay, but that accident had
betrayed him. He had established a secret correspondence with Vienna,
through which he received weekly accounts of all that had passed in
Congress, and was prepared to act accordingly. One of his agents, De
Chaboulon, arrived at Elba, at the same period with the Chevalier
D'Istria, (whom the King of Naples had sent with the despatch received
from his ambassador at Vienna,) announcing the closing of the Congress,
and the departure of the Emperor Alexander. On this intelligence
Napoleon determined immediately to set sail for France, without waiting
for the return of Cipriani, whom he had sent on a special mission. Had
he waited for that return, the Emperor Alexander would have been on his
way to Russia. But the result of his precipitancy was, that by rushing
into France, while the emperors and diplomatists were still in
combination, they were enabled to level the blow at him immediately.
Instead of negotiations, he was pursued with a hue and cry; and instead
of being treated as a prince, he was proclaimed an outlaw. Cipriani
arrived in Elba on the 27th of February, but Napoleon had sailed on the
evening of the 26th. So delicate was the interval between total ruin and
what might have been final security; for Cipriani brought news of the
Congress, and despatches from Vienna, which would have proved the
importance of delaying the departure of the expedition.

But it must now be acknowledged that, if there ever was a human being
under the influence of infatuation, that being was Napoleon, in the
latter stages of his career. For ten years the favourite of fortune, the
long arrear had begun to be paid in the year 1812. His expedition to
Moscow was less a blunder than a frenzy. There was, perhaps, not one man
in a thousand in Europe but foresaw the almost inevitable ruin of his
army. We can recollect the rejoicing with which this perilous advance
was viewed in England, and the universal prediction that the Russian
deserts would be the grave of his army, if not of his empire. Poland had
been conquered in a march and a month. The residence of Napoleon at
Warsaw for the winter would have raised a Polish army for him, and would
have given him a year for the march to Moscow. But he was _infatuated_:
there is no other solution of the problem. He rushed on, captured the
capital, and was ruined. Even with Moscow in ashes round him, he still
persisted in the folly of supposing that he could persuade into peace an
empire which had just given so tremendous an evidence of its fidelity
and its fortitude. He was infatuated. He was detained amid the embers
until it was impossible to remain longer, and equally impossible to
escape the horrors of a Russian winter in a march of six hundred miles.
His hour was come. Of an army which numbered four hundred thousand men
on crossing the Niemen, probably not one thousand ever returned; for the
broken troops which actually came back had been reinforcements which
reached the Grand Army from time to time. He reached Paris with the
stamp of fallen sovereignty on his brow: the remainder of his career was
a struggle against his sentence. Waterloo was merely the scaffold: he
was under irretrievable condemnation long before.

In his captivity, Napoleon was liberal in his donatives. On the
departure of Balcombe, in whose house he had remained for some time on
his arrival in the island, he gave him a bill for seventy-two thousand
francs, with the grant of a pension of twelve thousand,--saying to him
"I hear that your resignation of your employment is caused by the
quarrels drawn upon you through the hospitality which you showed me: I
should not wish you to regret ever having known me."

A quarrel relative to the bulletins of Napoleon's health, produced an
order from the governor for the arrest of O'Meara. There was a vast
quantity of peevishness exercised on the subject, and Napoleon attempted
to raise this trifling affair into a general quarrel of the
commissioners. But on his declaring that he would no longer receive the
visits of O'Meara while under arrest, the governor revoked the order,
and O'Meara continued his attendance until instructions were received
from Lord Bathurst, to remove him from his situation in the household of
the Emperor, and send him to England. This gave another opportunity for
complaint. "I have lived too long," said Buonaparte; "your ministers are
very bold. When the Pope was my prisoner, I would have cut off my arm
rather than have signed an order for laying hands on his physician."

Before leaving the island, O'Meara drew up a statement of his patient's
health, in which he seems to have regarded the liver as the chief seat
of his disease. A copy of this paper reached home, when Cardinal Fesch
and the mother of Napoleon had it examined by her own physician and four
medical professors of the university. They also pronounced the disease
to consist of an obstruction of the liver. So much for the certainty of
medicine. The whole report is now known to have been a blunder. Napoleon
ultimately died of a fearful disease, which probably has no connexion
with the liver at all. His disease was cancer in the stomach.

The result of those quarrels, however, was to give a less circumscribed
promenade to Napoleon. On the decline of his health being distinctly
stated to Sir Hudson Lowe, he enlarged the circle of his exercise, and
Napoleon resumed his walks and works. From this period, too, he resumed
those dictations which, in the form of notes, contained his personal
opinions, or rather those apologies for his acts, which he now became
peculiarly anxious to leave behind him to posterity.

Whatever may be the historic value of those notes, it is impossible to
read them without the interest belonging to transactions which shook
Europe, and without remembering that they were the language of a man by
far the most remarkable of his time, if not the most remarkable for the
result of his acts, since the fall of the Roman empire. In speaking of
the return from Elba--"I took," said he, "that resolution as soon as it
was proved to me that the Bourbons considered themselves as the
continuance of the Third Dynasty, and denied the legal existence of the
Republic, and the Empire, which were thenceforth to be regarded only as
usurping governments. The consequences of this system were flagrant. It
became the business of the bishops to reclaim their sees; the property
of the clergy, and the emigrants must be restored. All the services
rendered in the army of Condé and in La Vendée, all the acts of
treachery committed in opening the gates of France to the armies which
brought back the king, merited reward. All those rendered under the
standard of the Republic and the Empire were acts of felony." He then
gave his special view of the overthrow of the French monarchy.

    "The Revolution of 1789 was a general attack of the masses upon the
    privileged classes. The nobles had occupied, either directly or
    indirectly, all the posts of justice, high and low. They were exempt
    from the charges of the state, and yet enjoyed all the advantages
    accruing from them, by the exclusive possession of all honourable
    and lucrative employments. The principal aim of the Revolution was
    to abolish those privileges." He then declared the advantages of the
    Revolution. "It had established the right of every citizen,
    according to his merit, to attain to every employment; it had broken
    down the arbitrary divisions of the provinces, and out of many
    little nations formed a great one. It made the civil and criminal
    laws the same every where--the regulations and taxes the same every
    where. The half of the country changed its proprietors."

This statement is true, and yet the mask is easily taken off the
Revolution. The whole question is, whether the means by which it was
purchased were not wholly unnecessary. It cost seven years of the most
cruel and comprehensive wickedness that the world ever saw; and, when at
last its violence overflowed the frontiers, it cost nearly a quarter of
a century of slaughter, of ruthless plunder and savage devastation,
concluding with the capture of the French capital itself, twice within
two years, and the restoration of the royal family by the bayonets of
the conquerors.

Yet every beneficial change which was produced by the Revolution, at
this enormous waste of national strength and human happiness, had been
offered by the French throne before a drop of blood was shed; and was
disdained by the leaders of the populace, in their palpable preference
for the havoc of their species.

In the beginning of November, 1818, Sir Hudson Lowe communicated to
Count Montholon a despatch from Lord Bathurst announcing the departure
from Italy of two priests, a physician, a _maître d'hôtel_ and cook,
sent by Cardinal Fesch, for the service of Longwood. This news was
received by the household with joy, in consequence of Napoleon's
declining health. Towards the end of November he became worse; and Dr
Stock, the surgeon of one of the ships on the station, was sent for, and
attended him for a while. Liver complaint was Napoleon's disease in the
opinion of the doctor; the true disease having escaped them all. The
paroxysm passed off, and for six weeks his constitution seemed to be
getting the better of his disease.

The complaints of the governor's conduct appear to have been kept up
with the same restless assiduity. If we are to judge from a conversation
with Montholon, those complaints were of the most vexatious order. "It
is very hard," said Sir Hudson, "that I who take so much care to avoid
doing what is disagreeable, should be constantly made the victim of
calumnies; that I should be presented as an object of ridicule to the
eyes of the European powers; that the commissioners of the great powers
should say to me themselves, that Count Bertrand had declared to them
that I was a fool; that I could not be sure that the Emperor was at
Longwood; that I had been forty days without seeing him; and that he
might be dead without my knowing any thing of it." He further said that
the newspapers, and particularly the _Edinburgh Review_, were full of
articles which represented him as an assassin. But in the mean time, it
was necessary that the orderly officer should see Napoleon every day,
and that this might be done in any way he pleased. All that was
necessary was, that he should be seen.

Yet this demand of seeing him, which was thus expressed in moderate
terms, and obviously essential to his safe keeping, was answered in the
lofty style of a melodrama. "Count Bertrand and myself have both
informed you, sir, that you should never violate the Emperor's privacy
without forcing his doors, and shedding blood."

A great deal of the pretended irritation of Napoleon and his household,
arose from the governor's omission of the word Emperor in his notes; and
on this subject a cavil had existed even in England. Yet what could be
more childish than such a cavil, either in England or in St Helena? It
is a well-known diplomatic rule, that no title which a new power may
give to itself can be acknowledged, except as a matter of distinct
negotiation; and those Frenchmen must have known that the governor had
no right to acknowledge a title, which had never been acknowledged by
the British Cabinet.

At length the quarrel rose to bullying. The governor having insisted on
his point, that Napoleon should be seen by the orderly officer; this was
fiercely refused; and at length Bertrand made use of offensive language,
filling up the offence by a challenge to the governor. The most
surprising matter in the whole business is, that Sir Hudson did not
instantly send the blusterer to the black-hole. It was obvious that the
idea of fighting with men under his charge was preposterous. But he
still, and we think injudiciously, as a matter of the code of honour,
wrote, that if Count Bertrand had not patience to wait another
opportunity, as he could not fight his _prisoner_, he might satisfy his
rage by fighting Lieutenant-Colonel Lyster, the bearer of his reply, who
was perfectly ready to draw his sword. Of this opportunity, however,
the Count had the wisdom to avoid taking advantage.

The whole question now turned on the admission of the orderly officer,
to have personal evidence that Napoleon was still in the island--a
matter of obvious necessity, for Europe at that time teemed with the
projects of Revolutionary Frenchmen for setting him free. His escape
would have ruined the governor; but even if it had been a matter of
personal indifference to him, his sense of the public evils which might
be produced by the return of this most dangerous of all incendiaries
would doubtless have made his detention one of the first duties.

However, finding at last that the state of Napoleon's health might
afford a sufficient guarantee against immediate escape, and evidently
with the purpose of softening the irritation between them as much as
possible, it was finally, though "temporarily," agreed to take
Montholon's word for his being at Longwood. On the 21st of September,
the priests and Dr Antomarchi arrived. Napoleon, always active and
inventive, now attempted to interest the Emperor of Russia in his
liberation. It must be owned, that this was rather a bold attempt for
the man who had invaded Russia, ravaged its provinces, massacred its
troops, and finished by leaving Moscow in flames. But he dexterously
limited himself to explaining the seizure of the Duchy of Oldenburg,
which was the commencement of the rapacious and absurd attempt to
exclude English merchandise from the Continent. Oldenburg was one of the
chief entrances by which those manufactures made their way into Germany.
Its invasion, and the countless robberies which followed, had been among
the first insolences of Napoleon, and the cause of the first irritations
of Alexander, as his sister was married to the reigning prince. Napoleon
lays the entire blame on Davoust, whom he charges with both the
conception and the execution. But if he had disapproved of the act, why
had he not annulled it? "I was on the point of doing so," said Napoleon,
"when I received a menacing note from Russia; but," said he, "from the
moment when the honour of France was implicated, I could no longer
disapprove of the marshal's proceedings." He glides over the invasion of
Russia with the same unhesitating facility. "I made war," said he,
"against Russia, in spite of myself. I knew better than the libellers
who reproached me with it, that Spain was a devouring cancer which I
ought to cure before engaging myself in a terrible struggle, the first
blow of which would be struck at a distance of five hundred leagues from
my frontiers. Poland and its resources were but poetry, in the first
months of the year 1812." He then adroitly flatters the Russian nation.
"I was not so mad as to think that I could conquer Russia without
immense efforts. I knew the bravery of the Russian army. The war of 1807
had proved it to me." He then hints at the subject of his conversations
at Erfurth, and discloses some of those curious projects, by which
France and Russia were to divide the world. He says that Alexander
offered to exchange his Polish provinces for Constantinople. Under this
arrangement Syria and Egypt would have supplied to France the loss of
her colonies. He then admits that he had desired to marry the
Grand-duchess; and, finally asserting that the dynasty of the Bourbons
was forced upon the people, he declares himself willing to accept of
Russian intervention to save himself from the "martyrdom of that rock."

It is evident that the conduct of the governor was constantly guided by
a wish to consult the convenience of his prisoner; but the most
important point of all was to guard against his escape. Gradually the
relaxations as to the limits of his movements became more satisfactory
even to the household themselves; and for some time in the latter period
of 1819 Napoleon was suffered to ride to considerable distances in the
island, without the attendance of all English officer. He now took long
rides--among others, one to the house of Sir William Doveton, on the
other side of the island. In the evenings he dictated narratives
relative to some of the more prominent points of his history, for the
purpose of their being sent to Europe, where he was determined, at
least, never to let the interest of his name die, and where, though he
was practically forgotten, this clever but utterly selfish individual
deceived himself into the belief that thousands and tens of thousands
were ready to sacrifice every thing for his restoration. On one of these
evenings he gave his own version of the revolt of Marshal Ney.

It will be remembered that Ney, when the command of the troops was given
to him by Louis XVIII. made a dashing speech to the King, declaring that
"he would bring back the monster in an iron cage." But it happened that
he had no sooner seen the monster, than he walked over to him with his
whole army. This was an offence not to be forgiven; and the result was,
that on the restoration of the King, Ney was tried by a court-martial,
and shot.

Of course, there could be but one opinion of this unfortunate officer's
conduct; but it is curious to observe the romantic colour which
Napoleon's dexterous fancy contrived to throw over the whole scene.

"Marshal Ney," said he, "was perfectly loyal, when he received his last
orders from the King. But his fiery soul could not fail to be deeply
impressed by the intoxicating enthusiasm of the population of the
provinces, which was daily depriving him of some of his best troops, for
the national colours were hoisted on all sides." Notwithstanding this,
Ney, when the Emperor was ready at Lyons, resisted his recollections,
until he received the following letter from the Emperor. "Then he
yielded, and again placed himself under the banner of the empire."

The letter was the following pithy performance:--"Cousin, my
major-general sends you the order of march. I do not doubt that the
moment you heard of my arrival at Lyons, you again raised the tricolored
standards among your troops. Execute the orders of Bertrand, and come
and join me at Chalons. I will receive you as I did the morning after
the battle of Moscow." It must be acknowledged that the man who could
have been seduced by this letter must have been a simpleton: it has all
the arrogance of a master, and even if he had been perfectly free, it
was evident that obedience would have made him a slave. But he had given
a solemn pledge to the King; he had been given the command of the army
on the strength of that pledge; and in carrying it over to the enemy of
the King, he compromised the honour and hazarded the life of every man
among them. The act was unpardonable, and he soon found it to be fatally

Napoleon makes no reference to the pledge, to the point of honour or the
point of duty, but pronounces his death a judicial assassination. Still,
he is evidently not quite clear on the subject; for he says, that even
if he had been guilty, his services to his country ought to have
arrested the hand of justice.

Napoleon sometimes told interesting tales of his early career. One of
those, if true, shows how near the world was to the loss of an Emperor.
After the siege of Toulon, which his panegyrists regard as the first
step to his good fortune, he returned to Paris, apparently in the worst
possible mood for adventure. He was at this period suffering from
illness. His mother, too, had just communicated to him the discomforts
of her position.--She had been just obliged to fly from Corsica, where
the people were in a state of insurrection, and she was then at
Marseilles, without any means of subsistence. Napoleon had nothing
remaining, but an assignat of one hundred sous, his pay being in arrear.
"In this state of dejection I went out," said he, "as if urged to
suicide by an animal instinct, and walked along the quays, feeling my
weakness, but unable to conquer it. In a few more moments I should have
thrown myself into the water, when I ran against an individual dressed
like a simple mechanic, and who, recognising me, threw himself on my
neck, and cried, 'Is it you, Napoleon? what joy to see you again!' It
was Demasis, a former comrade of mine in the artillery regiment. He had
emigrated, and had returned to France in disguise, to see his aged
mother. He was about to go, when, stopping, he said, 'What is the
matter? You do not listen to me. You do not seem glad to see me. What
misfortune threatens you? You look to me, like a madman about to kill

This direct appeal awoke Napoleon's feelings, and he told him every
thing. "Is that all?" said he; opening his coarse waistcoat, and
detaching a belt, he added, "here are thirty thousand francs in gold,
take them and save your mother." "I cannot," said Napoleon, "to this
day, explain to myself my motives for so doing, but I seized the gold as
if by a convulsive movement, and ran like a madman to send it to my
mother. It was not until it was out of my hands, that I thought of what
I had done. I hastened back to the spot where I had left Demasis, but he
was no longer there. For several days I went out in the morning,
returning not until evening, searching every place where I hoped to find

The end of the romance is as eccentric as the beginning. For fifteen
years Napoleon saw no more of his creditor. At the end of that time he
discovered him, and asked "why he had not applied to the Emperor." The
answer was, that he had no necessity for the money, but was afraid of
being compelled to quit his retirement, where he lived happily
practising horticulture.

Napoleon now paid his debt, as it maybe presumed, magnificently; made
him accept three hundred thousand francs as a reimbursement from the
Emperor for the thirty thousand lent to the subaltern of artillery; and
besides, made him director-general of the gardens of the crown, with a
salary of thirty thousand francs. He also gave a government place to his

Napoleon, who seems always to have had some floating ideas of fatalism
in his mind, remarked that two of his comrades, Demasis and Philipeau,
had peculiar influence on his destiny. Philipeau had emigrated, and was
the engineer employed by Sir Sydney Smith to construct the defences of
Acre. We have seen that Demasis stopped him at the moment when he was
about to drown himself. "Philipeau," said he, "stopped me before St
Jean d'Acre: but for him, I should have been master of this key of the
East. I should have marched upon Constantinople, and rebuilt the throne
of the East."

This idea of sitting on the throne of the Turk, seems never to have left
Napoleon's mind. He was always talking of it, or dreaming of it. But it
may fairly be doubted, whether he could ever have found his way out of
Syria himself. With his fleet destroyed by Nelson, and his march along
the coast--perhaps the only practicable road--harassed by the English
cruisers; with the whole Turkish army ready to meet him in the defiles
of Mount Taurus; with Asia Minor still to be passed; and with the
English, Russian, and Turkish fleets and forces ready to meet him at
Constantinople, his death or capture would seem to be the certain
consequence of his fantastic expedition. The strongest imaginable
probability is, that instead of wearing the diadem of France, his head
would have figured on the spikes of the seraglio.

Suicide is so often the unhappy resource of men indifferent to all
religion, that we can scarcely be surprised at its having been
contemplated more than once by a man of fierce passions, exposed to the
reverses of a life like Napoleon's. Of the dreadful audacity of a crime,
which directly wars with the Divine will, which cuts off all possibility
of repentance, and which thus sends the criminal before his Judge with
all his sins upon his head, there can be no conceivable doubt. The only
palliative can be, growing insanity. But in the instance which is now
stated by the intended self-murderer, there is no attempt at palliation
of any kind.

"There was another period of my life," said Napoleon, "when I attempted
suicide; but you are certainly acquainted with this fact." "No, sire,"
was Montholon's reply.

"In that case, write what I shall tell you: for it is well that the
mysteries of Fontainbleau should one day be known."

We condense into a few sentences this singular narrative, which begins
with an interview demanded by his marshals on the 4th of April 1815,
when he was preparing to move at the head of his army to attack the
Allies. The language of the marshals was emphatic.

    "The army is weary, discouraged, disorganised; desertion is at work
    among the ranks. To re-enter Paris cannot be thought of: in
    attempting to do so we should uselessly shed blood."

Their proposal was, his resignation in favour of his son.

Caulaincourt had already brought him the Emperor Alexander's opinion on
the subject. The envoy had thus reported the imperial conversation:--"I
carry on no diplomacy with you, but I cannot tell you every thing.
Understand this, and lose not a moment in rendering an account to the
Emperor Napoleon of our conversation, and of the situation of his
affairs here; and return again as quickly, bringing his abdication in
favour of his son. As to his personal fate, I give you my word of honour
that he will be properly treated. But lose not an hour, or all is lost
for him, and I shall no longer have power to do any thing either for him
or his dynasty."

Napoleon proceeds. "I hesitated not to make the sacrifice demanded of my
patriotism. I sat down at a little table, and wrote my Act of Abdication
in favour of my son." But on that day Marmont with his army had
surrendered. The Allies instantly rejected all negotiation, after this
decisive blow in their favour. The Act of Resignation had not reached
them, and they determined on restoring the old monarchy at once. On this
the desertion was universal; and every man at Fontainbleau was evidently
thinking only of being the first to make his bargain with the Bourbons.
Napoleon, as a last experiment, proposed to try the effect of war in

But all shook their heads, and were silent. He at length signed the
unequivocal Abdication for himself, and his family.

"From the time of my retreat from Russia," said he, "I had constantly
carried round my neck, in a little silken bag, a portion of a poisonous
powder which Ivan had prepared by my orders, when I was in fear of being
carried off by the Cossacks. My life no longer belonged to my country;
the events of the last few days had again rendered me master of it. Why
should I endure so much suffering? and who knows, that my death may not
place the crown on the head of my son? France was saved."--

    "I hesitated no longer, but, leaping from my bed, mixed the poison
    in a little water, and drank it, with a sort of happiness.

    "But time had taken away its strength; fearful pains drew forth some
    groans from me; they were heard, and medical assistance arrived. It
    was not Heaven's will that I should die so soon--St Helena was in my

It may easily be supposed that projects were formed for carrying the
prisoner from St Helena. One of those is thus detailed. The captain of a
vessel returning from India, had arranged to bring a boat to a certain
point of the coast without running the risk of being stopped. This
person demanded a million of francs, not, as he said, for himself, but
for the individual whose concurrence was necessary. The million was not
to be payable until the vessel had reached America. This renders it
probable that the captain was a Yankee. At all events, it shows how
necessary was the vigilance of the governor, and how little connected
with tyranny were his precautions against evasion. Another project was
to be carried out, by submarine vessels, and on this experiment five or
six thousand Louis were expended in Europe. But Napoleon finished his
inquiry into these matters by refusing to have any thing to do with
them. It is probable that he expected his release on easier terms than
those of breaking his neck, as Montholon observes, "in descending the
precipices of St Helena," or being starved, shot, or drowned on his
passage across the Atlantic. But as his object was constantly to throw
obloquy on the Bourbons, he placed his fears to the account of their

"I should not," said he, "be six months in America without being
assassinated by the Count d'Artois's creatures. Remember the isle of
Elba. Did he not send the _Chouan Brulard_ there to organise my
assassination? And besides, we should always obey our destiny. Every
thing is written in Heaven. It is my martyrdom which will restore the
crown of France to my dynasty. I see in America nothing but
assassination or oblivion. I prefer St Helena."

In the beginning of 1821, Napoleon began to grow lethargic. He had
generally spent the day in pacing up and down his apartment, and
dictating conversations and political recollections. But he now sat for
hours listlessly and perfectly silent on the sofa. It required the
strongest persuasion to induce him to take the air either on foot or _en

Napoleon to the last was fond of burlesquing the hypocrisy or romance of
the Revolution. The 18th of _Brumaire_, which made him First Consul, and
had given him two colleagues, gave him the opportunity of developing the
patriotism of the Republic. Shortly after that period, Sieyes, supping
with the heads of the Republican party, said to them, at the same time
throwing his cap violently on the ground, "There is no longer a
Republic. I have for the last eight days been conferring with a man who
knows every thing. He needs neither counsel nor aid; policy, laws, and
the art of government are all as familiar to him as the command of an
army. I repeat to you, there is no longer a Republic."

Sieyes was well known to be what the French call an _idealogue_. He was
a theorist on governments, which he invented in any convenient number.
For the Consulate he had his theory ready. The First Consul was to be
like an epicurean divinity, enjoying himself and taking care for no one.
But this tranquillity of position, and nonentity of power, by no means
suited the taste of Napoleon. "'Your Grand Elector," said he (the title
which seems to have been intended for his head of his new constitution,)
"would be nothing but an idle king. The time for do-nothing kings is
gone by--six millions of francs and the Tuilleries, to play the
stage-king in, put his signature to other peoples work, and do nothing
of himself, is a dream. Your Grand Elector would be nothing but a pig to
fatten, or a master, the more absolute because he would have no
responsibility.' It was on quitting me after this conversation," said
Napoleon, "that Sieyes said to Roger Ducos, 'My dear Colleague, we have
not a President, we have a master. You and I have no more to do, but to
make our fortunes before making our _paquets_.'" This was at least plain
speaking, and it discloses the secret of ninety-nine out of every
hundred of the Republicans.

An amusing anecdote of the memorable Abbé is then told. He was Almoner
to one of the Princesses of France. One day, while he was reading mass,
the Princess, from some accidental circumstance, retired, and her ladies
followed her. Sieyes, who was busy reading his missal, did not at first
perceive her departure; but when he saw himself abandoned by all the
great people, and had no auditory left but the domestics, he closed the
book, and left the altar, crying, "I do not say mass for the rabble!"
This certainly was not very democratic, and yet Sieyes was soon
afterwards the most rampant of all possible democrats.

The history of his patriotism, however, alike accounted for his former
contempt and his subsequent fraternisation. Previously to the Revolution
he was poor, neglected, and angry; but, as he was known to be a man of
ability, his name was mentioned to De Brienne, who, though an
archbishop, was Prime Minister. He was desired to attend at his next
levee; he attended, and was overlooked. He complained to his friend, who
repeated the complaint to the archbishop, who desired him to appear at
his levee; but was so much occupied with higher people, that the clever
but luckless Abbé was again overlooked. He made a third experiment, on
the promise that he should obtain audience; but he found the Archbishop
enveloped in a circle of _epaulets_, _grands cordons_, and mitres. To
penetrate this circle was impossible, and the Abbé, now furious at what
he regarded as a mockery, rushed to his chamber, seized a pen, and wrote
his powerful and memorable pamphlet entitled, "What is the third
Estate?" a fierce, but most forcible appeal to the vanity of the lower
orders, pronouncing them _the_ nation. This was a torch thrown into a
powder magazine--all was explosion; the church, the noblesse, and the
monarchy were suddenly extinguished, and France saw this man of long
views and powerful passions, suddenly raised from hunger and obscurity,
to the highest rank and the richest sinecurism of the republic.

Antomarchi was not fortunate in his attendance on Napoleon. Of course he
felt, like every other foreigner, the ennui of the island, and he grew
impatient to return to Europe. At last he applied for permission, which
Napoleon gave him in the shape of a discharge, with the following sting
at the end. "During the fifteen months which we have spent in this
country, you have given his Majesty no confidence in your moral
character. You can be of no use to him in his illness, and your residing
here for several months longer would have no object, and be of no use."
However, a reconciliation was effected, and the doctor was suffered to
remain. But all the household now began to be intolerably tired. Three
of the household, including the Abbé, requested their congé.

There is in the spirit of the foreigner a kind of gross levity, an
affectation of frivolity with respect to women, and a continual habit of
vulgar vanity, which seems to run through all ranks and ages of the
continental world. What can be more offensively trifling, than the
conduct which Napoleon narrates of himself, when Emperor, at Warsaw.

A Madame Waleska seems to have been the general belle of the city. On
the night when Napoleon first saw this woman, at a ball, General
Bertrand and Louis de Perigord appeared as her public admirers. "They
both," said he, "kept hovering emulously round her." But Napoleon,
Emperor, husband, and mature as he was, chose to play the gallant on
this evening also. Finding the two Frenchmen in the way of his
attentions, he played the Emperor with effect on the spot. He gave an
order to Berthier, then head of his staff, instantly to send off M.
Perigord "to obtain news of the 6th corps," which was on the Passarge.
Thus one inconvenience was got rid of, but Bertrand was still present,
and during supper his attentions were so marked that, as he leaned over
Madame's chair, his aiguilettes danced on her shoulders. "Upon this,"
said Napoleon, "my impatience was roused to such a pitch that I touched
him on the arm and drew him to the recess of a window, where I gave him
orders 'to set out for the head-quarters of Prince Jerome,' and without
losing an hour to bring me a report of the siege of Breslau." Such it is
to come in the way of Emperors. "The poor fellow was scarcely gone,"
adds Napoleon, "when I repented of my angry impulse; and I should
certainly have recalled him, had I not remembered at the same minute
that his presence with Jerome would be useful to me." And this was the
conduct of a man then in the highest position of life, whose example
must have been a model to the multitude, and in whom even frivolity
would be a crime.

Napoleon had long lived in a state of nervous fear, which must have made
even his high position comfortless to him. He had been for years in
dread of poison. "I have escaped poisoning," said he, "ten times, if I
have once." In St Helena he never eat or drank any thing which had not
been tasted first by one of the household! Montholon, during the night,
constantly tasted the drink prepared for him. On this subject, Napoleon
told the following anecdote.

"He was one day leaving the dinner-table with the Empress Josephine, and
two or three other persons, when, as he was about to put his hand in his
pocket for his snuff-box, he perceived it lying on the mantel-piece, in
the saloon which he was entering. He was about to open it and take a
pinch, when his good star caused him to seat himself. He then felt that
his snuff-box was in one of his pockets. This excited inquiry, and on
sending the two boxes to be chemically tested, the snuff on the
mantel-piece was discovered to be poisoned." After this, it is somewhat
absurd in M. Montholon to give his hero credit for _sang froid_, and say
of him, that no one could take fewer precautions against such dangers
than the Emperor. His whole life seems to have been precautionary;
still, he sententiously talked the nonsense of fatalism.

"Our last hour is written above," was his frequent remark. He had some
absurdities on the subject of medicine, which would have very
effectually assisted the fulfilment of this prediction. He had all idea
that he should cure himself of his immediate disease, and perhaps of
every other, by swallowing orange-flower water, and soup _à la reine_.

The governor, during this period, constantly offered the services of an
English physician; and Dr Arnott was at last summoned, who pronounced
the disease to be very serious, and to be connected with great
inflammation in the region of the stomach. It was now, for the first
time, ascertained that his disease was ulceration of the stomach. There
is an occasional tribute to the humane conduct of the governor at this
time. On April eleventh, there is this memorandum:--

    "Sir Hudson Lowe has left us in perfect tranquillity, since Dr
    Arnott has been admitted, though he comes every day to the
    apartments of the orderly officer, for the purpose of conferring
    with the physician."

Napoleon, now conscious of the dangerous nature of his disease, made his
will. He had conceived that he was worth in various property about two
hundred millions of francs, which he left by will, but of which we
believe the greater part was impounded by the French government, as
being public property.

He now held a long conversation on the prospects of his son, whom he
regarded as not altogether beyond the hope of ascending the throne of
France. He predicted the fall of the reigning family. "The Bourbons,"
said he, "will not maintain their position after my death." With an
exactness equally odd, but equally true, he predicted the rise of
another branch of the dynasty: "My son will arrive, after a time of
troubles; he has but one party to fear, that of the Duke of Orleans.
That party has been germinating for a long time. France is the country
where the chiefs of parties have the least interest. To rest for support
on them, is to build their hopes on sand."

There is a brilliant shrewdness now and then, in his contempt of the
showy exhibitors in public life. "The great orators," said he, "who rule
the assemblies by the brilliancy of their eloquence, are in general men
of the most mediocre talents. They should not be opposed in their own
way, for they have always more noisy words at command than you. In my
council there were men possessed of much more eloquence than I was, but
I always defeated them by this simple argument,--Two and two make four.

    "My son will be obliged to allow the liberty of the press. This is a
    necessity in the present day. My son ought to be a man of new ideas,
    and of the cause which have made triumphant every where.

    "Let my son often read and reflect on history: that is the only true
    philosophy. Let him read and meditate on the wars of the great
    Captains. That is the only means of rightly learning the science of

In April, the signs of debility grew still more marked. On the 26th, at
four in the morning, after a calm night, he had what Montholon regards
as a dream, but what Napoleon evidently regarded as a vision. He said
with extraordinary emotion, "I have just seen my good Josephine, but she
would not embrace me; she disappeared at the moment when I was about to
take her in my arms; she was seated _there_; it seemed to me that I had
seen her yesterday evening; she is not changed--still the same, full of
devotion to me; she told me that we were about to see each other again,
never more to part. She assured me of that. Did you see her?"

Montholon attributed this scene to feverish excitement, gave him his
potion, and he fell asleep; but on awaking he again spoke of the Empress

It is difficult in speaking of dreams and actual visions, to know the
distinction. That the mind may be so perfectly acted upon during the
waking hours as to retain the impressions during sleep, is the
experience of every day. And yet we know so little of the means by which
truths may be communicated to the human spirit while the senses are
closed, that it would be unphilosophical to pronounce even upon those
fugitive thoughts as unreal. That Napoleon must have often reflected on
his selfish and cruel desertion of Josephine, it is perfectly natural to
conceive. That he may have bitterly regretted it, is equally natural,
for, from that day, his good fortune deserted him. And he might also
have discovered that he had committed a great crime, with no other fruit
than that of making a useless alliance, encumbering himself with an
ungenial companion, and leaving an orphan child dependant on strangers,
and continually tantalised by the recollections of a fallen throne.
Those feelings, in the solitude of his chamber, and the general
dejection of his captivity, must have so often clouded his declining
hours, that no miracle was required to embody them in such a vision as
that described. And yet, so many visitations of this kind have
undoubtedly occurred, that it would be rash to pronounce that this sight
of the woman who had so long been the partner of his brilliant days
might not have been given, to impress its moral on the few melancholy
hours which now lay between him and the grave.

It is painful, after a scene which implies some softness of heart, to
find him unrepentant of one of the most repulsive, because the most
gratuitous crime of his career. In the course of the day, Bertrand, in
translating an English journal, inadvertently began to read an article
containing a violent attack on the conduct of Caulaincourt and Savary in
the seizure of the Duc d'Enghien. Napoleon, interrupting him, suddenly
cried, "This is shameful." He then sent for his will, and interlined the
following words:--"I caused the Duc d'Enghien to be arrested and tried,
because that step was essential to the interest, honour, and safety of
the French people, when the Count d'Artois was maintaining, by his own
confession, sixteen assassins in Paris. Under similar circumstances I
should act in the same way." Having written these few lines he gave back
the will. From this period he was engaged in writing codicils and
appointing executors. He gave to Marchand a diamond necklace, valued at
200,000 francs. He wound up those transactions by an extraordinary
letter,--no less than the form of an announcement of his own death. It
was in these words:--

     "Monsieur le Gouverneur, the Emperor Napoleon breathed his last on
     the ---- after a long and painful illness. I have the honour to
     communicate this intelligence to you.

     "The Emperor had ordered me to communicate, if such be your desire,
     his last wishes. I beg you to inform me, what are the arrangements,
     prescribed by your government for the transportation of his remains
     to France, as well as those relating to the persons of his suite. I
     have the honour to be, &c., COUNT MONTHOLON."

An act of this order implied a good deal of self-possession. But, even
to the last day he continued to occupy his mind with subjects
sufficiently trying at any period. On one of those nights he made
Montholon bring a table to his bed-side, and dictated for two hours; the
subjects being, the decoration of Versailles, and the organisation of
the National Guard. On the 30th of April he was given over by the
physicians. On the 3rd of May his fever continued, and his mind was
evidently beginning to be confused. On the 5th of May he passed a very
bad night and became delirious. "Twice," said Montholon, "I thought I
distinguished the unconnected words, _France--Armée--Tête

His final hour now visibly approached. From six in the morning, until
half-past five in the evening of that day, he remained motionless, lying
on his back, with his right hand out of the bed, and his eyes fixed,
seemingly absorbed in deep meditation, and without any appearance of
suffering; his lips were slightly contracted; his whole face expressed
pleasant and gentle impressions.

But he seems to have been awake to external objects to the last. For
whenever Antommarchi attempted to moisten his lips, he repulsed him with
his hand, and fixed his eyes on Montholon, as the only person whom he
would permit to attend him. At sunset he died.

The immediate cause of his death was subsequently ascertained by the
surgeons to have been an extensive ulceration of the stomach.

On the 9th of May the body was buried with military honours. On the
30th, Montholon, with the household, quitted St Helena.

Thus obscurely, painfully, and almost ignominiously, closed the career
of the most brilliant, ambitious, and powerful monarch of his time. No
man had ever attained a higher rank, and sunk from it to a lower. No man
had ever been so favoured by fortune. No man had ever possessed so large
an influence over the mind of Europe, and been finally an object of
hostility so universal. He was the only man in history, against whom a
Continent in arms pronounced sentence of overthrow: the only soldier
whose personal fall was the declared object of a general war:--and the
only monarch whose capture ensured the fall of his dynasty, extinguished
an empire, and finished the loftiest dream of human ambition in a

Napoleon, since his fall, has been denied genius. But if genius implies
the power of accomplishing great ends by means beyond the invention of
others, he was a genius. Every act of his career was a superb
innovation. As a soldier, he changed the whole art of war. Instead of
making campaigns of tactics, he made campaigns of triumphs. He wasted no
time in besieging towns; he rushed on the capital. He made no wars of
detachments, but threw a colossal force across the frontier, held its
mass together, and fought pitched battles day after day, until he
trampled down all resistance by the mere weight of a phalanx of 250,000
men. Thus, in 1800, at Marengo, he reconquered Italy in twelve hours. In
1805, he broke down Austria in a three months' war. In 1806, he crushed
the Prussian army in four-and-twenty hours, and walked over the
monarchy. In 1807, he drove the Russians out of Germany, fought the two
desperate battles of Eylau and Friedland, and conquered that treaty of
Tilsit, by which he gave the Emperor Alexander a shadow of empire in
Asia, in exchange for the substance of universal empire in Europe.

But his time was come. His wars had been wholly selfish. To aggrandise
his own name, he had covered Europe with blood. To place _himself_ at
the head of earthly power, he had broken faith with Turkey, with Russia,
with Germany, and with Spain. The blood, the spoil, and the misery of
millions were upon his head. His personal crimes concentrated the
vengeance of mankind upon his diadem. For the last three years of his
political and military existence, he seems to have lain under an actual
spell. Nothing but the judicial clouding of his intellect can account
for the precipitate infirmities of his judgment. His march to Russia, as
we have already observed, was a gigantic absurdity in the eyes of all
Europe--his delay at Moscow was a gigantic absurdity in the eyes of
every subaltern in his army. But his campaigns in France were only a
continuation of those absurdities. With fifty thousand men he was to
conquer three hundred thousand, backed by an actual million ready to
rush into the province of France. How was resistance possible? Treaty
was his only hope: yet he attempted to resist, and refused to treat. He
was beaten up to the walls of Paris. The Allies then offered him France:
he still fought, and only affected to negociate. At length the long
infatuation was consummated in his march _from_ Paris; the Allies
marched _to_ Paris; and Napoleon was instantly deposed, outlawed, and

Even his second great experiment for power was but the infatuation
repeated. Every act was an error: his return from Elba ought to have
been delayed for at least a year. His campaign of 1815 ought to have
made head against the Prussians and Germans in the south, while he left
the English and Prussians to waste their strength against his
fortresses. Even in Belgium, he ought to have poured the whole mass of
his army on the English at once, instead of violating his own first
principle of war, and dividing it into three armies, Ney's at
Quatre-Bras, Grouchy's at Wavre, and his own at Ligny.

Still, when routed at Waterloo, he had a powerful force in the field,
the remnant of his army, with Grouchy's corps. With those he ought to
have moved on slowly towards Paris, garrisoning the fortresses, breaking
up the roads, throwing every obstacle in the way of the Allies, and
finally, at the head of his 60,000 veterans, with the national guard of
the capital and the surrounding districts, (amounting to not less than
100,000 men,) at once making a front against the Allies, and

Above all things, he ought _never_ to have separated himself from the
army; as he thus stripped his party of all power at the moment, and
virtually delivered himself a prisoner to the Bourbonists in the
capital. Whatever might be the difficulty of deciding on his conduct at
the time, it is now perfectly easy to see, that all these were blunders
of the first magnitude, and that every step was direct to his ruin.

He was no sooner in Paris, than he was made a prisoner; escaped being
shot, only through the mercy of the Allies; and, for the general quiet
of France and Europe, was consigned, for the remainder of his few and
melancholy years, to the prison of St Helena.

The name of Napoleon has a great place in history. He was a great moving
power of the day of change, a great statesman, a brilliant soldier, and
a splendid ruler of the mightiest dominion that had existed under one
sceptre, since the days of Charlemagne. He was a man of vast projects,
vast means, and vast opportunities. But he had no greatness of mind; he
had but one purpose, personal aggrandizement; and for that purpose, he
adopted every vice of the heart of man.

Without being bloodthirsty by nature, he was cruel by habit; without
being naturally avaricious, he was a universal spoiler; and without
savagely hating mankind, he spurned the feelings, the sufferings, and
the life of man. He was hollow, fierce, and remorseless, where his own
objects were concerned, and whether he cheated his party in the state,
or rode over a field covered with his dying troops, he regarded the
treachery as legitimate, and the slaughter as meritorious, if they
raised him a step nearer to the aim of his ambition.

With the most splendid chances for establishing a name of perpetual
honour, this selfishness defeated them all. On his accession to the
throne, he might have secured Peace, as the principle of all European
government. He might have developed all the natural powers of his
empire, covered its rivers with commerce, filled its cities with
opulence, restored the neglected fertility of its plains, and rendered
its capital the centre of the most brilliant civilisation which the
world had ever seen. But War was for the _fame_ of Napoleon, and he
chose the havoc of war.

In 1812 he might have restored the kingdom of Poland, and stamped
perpetual renown on his diadem, by an act of imperial justice. But he
preferred sacrificing it to the alliance of Austria--for the purpose of
devastating Russia. He might have exercised his boundless influence over
Spain, to bring the faculties of that noble country to the light, and
add the contributions of twelve millions of a half-forgotten race of
mankind, to the general happiness of the world. But he preferred being
called its conqueror, shedding its blood in torrents. To France herself
he might have given a rational liberty, have animated her literature,
taught common sense to her vanity, thrown the field open to her genius,
and guided her natural ardour, flexibility, and spirit of enterprise, to
achievements for the good of man, to which all the trophies of the sword
are pale. But he cast away all those illustrious opportunities, and
thought only of the shout of the rabble.

Napoleon's career was _providential_; there is no name in history, whose
whole course bears so palpable a proof of his having been created for a
_historic_ purpose. Europe, in the partition of Poland, had committed a
great crime,--France, in the murder of her king, had committed a great
crime. The three criminal thrones, and the regicidal republic, were
alike to be punished. Napoleon was the appointed instrument for both
purposes. He first crushed the democracy, and then he broke the strength
of the three powers in the field--he thrice conquered the Austrian
capital--he turned Prussia into a province,--and his march to Russia
desolated her most populous provinces, and laid her Asiatic capital in

But France, which continually paid for all those fearful triumphs in her
blood, was still to suffer a final and retributive punishment. Her
armies were hunted from the Vistula to the Rhine, and from the Rhine to
the Seine. She saw her capital twice captured--her government twice
swept away--her conquests lost--her plunder recovered by its original
possessors, and her territory garrisoned by an army of strangers--her
army disbanded--her empire cut down to the limits of the old
monarchy--her old masters restored, and her idol torn from his altar.
Thus were thrown away the fruits of the Revolution, of the regicide, of
the democracy, and of a quarter of a century of wretchedness, fury, and

On Napoleon himself fell the heaviest blow of all. All the shames,
sorrows, and sufferings of France were concentered on his head. He saw
his military power ruined--his last army slaughtered--his last adherents
exiled--his family fugitive,--his whole dynasty uncrowned, and himself
given up as a prisoner to England, to be sent to an English dungeon, to
be kept in English hands; to finish his solitary and bitter existence in
desertion and disease, and be laid in an English grave,--leaving to
mankind perhaps the most striking moral of blasted ambition ever given
to the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

In 1840 England, at the solicitation of France, suffered the remains of
Napoleon to be brought to Europe. They were received in Paris with
military pomp, and on the 15th of December were entombed in the chapel
of the Invalides.


[10] _History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St Helena._ By General
Count MONTHOLON Vols. iii. and iv. London: H. Colburn.


M. Theophile Gautier, best known as a clever contributor to the critical
_feuilleton_ of a leading Paris newspaper, also enjoys a respectable
reputation as tale-teller and tourist. His books--although for the most
part slight in texture, and conveying the idea that the author might
have done better had he taken more pains--have certain merits of their
own. His style, sometimes defaced by affectation and pedantry, has a
lively smartness not unfrequently rising into wit. And in description he
is decidedly happy. Possessing an artist's eye, he paints with his pen;
his colouring is vivid, his outline characteristic. These qualities are
especially exemplified in a spirited and picturesque, but very _French_
narrative, of an extensive ramble in Spain, published about four years
ago. He has now again drawn upon his Peninsular experience to produce a
tale illustrative of Spanish life and manners, chiefly in the lower
classes of society. His hero is a bull-fighter, his heroine a
_grisette_. Of bull-fights, especially within the last few years, one
has heard enough and to spare, since every literary traveller in Spain
thinks it incumbent on him to describe them. But this is the first
instance we remember where the incidents of the bull-ring, and the
exploits and peculiarities of its gladiators, are taken as groundwork
for a romantic tale. The attempt has been crowned with very considerable

The construction of M. Gautier's little romance is simple and
inartificial, the incidents are spirited, the style is fresh and
pleasant. Its character is quite Spanish, and one cannot doubt the
author's personal acquaintance with the scenes and types he
sketches--although here and there he has smoothed down with a little
French polish the rugged angles of Spanish nationality, and in other
places he may be accused of melodramatising rather over much. Through
the varnish which it is the novelist's privilege to lay on with a more
or less sparing brush, we obtain many interesting and correct glimpses
of classes of people whose habits and customs are unknown to foreigners,
and are likely to continue so, in great measure, until the appearance of
Spanish writers able and willing to depict them. The three principal
personages of the tale--the only important ones--are, a young gentleman
of Madrid, a bull-fighter named Juancho, and an orphan girl of humble
birth and great beauty. The story hinges upon the rivalry of the
gentleman and the _torero_ for the good graces of the grisette. There is
a secondary plot, associated and partly interwoven with the principal
one, but which serves little purpose, save that of prolonging a short
tale into a volume. It will scarcely be necessary to refer to it in
sketching the trials of the gentle Militona, and the feats and
misfortunes of the intrepid and unhappy Juancho.

It was on a June afternoon of the year 184--that Don Andrés de
Salcedo--a cavalier of good family, competent fortune, handsome
exterior, amiable character, and four-and-twenty years of age--emerged
from a house in the Calle San Bernardo at Madrid, where he had passed a
wearisome hour in practising a duet of Bellini's with Doña Feliciana
Vasquez de los Rios. This young lady, still in her teens, moderately
pretty and tolerably rich, Andrés had from childhood been affianced
with, and was accustomed to consider as his future wife, although his
sentiments towards her were, in fact, of a very tepid description.
Betrothed as children by their parents, there was little real love
between them: they met without pleasure and parted without pain; their
engagement was an affair of habit, not of the heart.

It was a _dia de toros_, as Monday is called in Madrid--that being the
day when bull-fights usually take place--and Andrés, passionately
addicted to the Spanish sport, left the mansion of his mistress without
any lover-like reluctance, and hurried to the bull-ring. Through the
spacious street of Alcala, then crowded to suffocation with vehicles of
every description, horsemen, and pedestrians, all hurrying to the point
of grand attraction, the young man pressed onward with that alert and
active step peculiar to Spaniards--unquestionably the best walkers in
the world--joyfully fingering his ticket of _Sombra por la tarde_.[11]
It entitled him to a place close to the barrier; for Andrés, despising
the elegance of the boxes, preferred leaning against the ropes intended
to prevent the bulls from leaping amongst the spectators. Thence each
detail of the combat is distinctly seen, each blow appreciated at its
just value; and in consideration of these advantages, Andrés willingly
resigned his elbows to the contact of motley-jacketed muleteers, and his
curls to the perfume of the manolo's cigar.

Although a bridegroom-elect ought not, strictly speaking, to perceive
the existence of other women than his intended, such scrupulous fidelity
is very rare except in romances: and Don Andrés, albeit descended
neither from Don Juan Tenorio nor Don Juan de Marana, was led to the
circus by other attractions besides the brave swordsmanship of Luca
Blanco and of Montés' nephew. At the bull-fight on the previous Monday
he had seen a young girl of rare and singular beauty, whose features had
imprinted themselves on his memory with a minuteness and indelibility
quite extraordinary, considering the short time he had been able to
observe them. So casual a meeting should have left no more trace than
the picture to which one accords a passing glance. No word or sign had
been exchanged between Andrés and the manola, (she apparently belonged
to that class,) who had been separated by several benches. Andrés had no
reason to believe that the young girl had remarked his admiration, or
even perceived him. Her eyes, fixed upon the arena, had not for an
instant wandered from the incidents of the bull-fight, in which she
appeared to take an exclusive interest. It would have been natural to
forget her on the threshold of the circus; but, instead of that, her
image had haunted Andrés all the week, recurring perpetually to his
memory with increased distinctness and perseverance. And it was a vague
hope, unacknowledged even to himself, of beholding the lovely manola,
that now doubled his usual impatience to reach the scene of the

At the very moment Andrés passed under one of the three arcades of the
gate of Alcala, a _calesin_, or light calash, dashed through the crowd,
amidst a concert of curses and hisses, the usual sounds with which the
Spanish populace assail whatever deranges them in their pleasures, and
infringes upon the sovereignty of the pedestrian. This vehicle was of
outrageous magnificence. The body, borne by two enormous scarlet wheels,
was covered with groups of Cupids, and with Anacreontic attributes, such
as lyres, tambourines, Pandaean pipes, cooing doves, and hearts pierced
with arrows, executed at some remote period by a pencil more remarkable
for audacity than correctness of design. The mule harnessed to this
gaudy car, had the upper half of his body closely clipped, bore a lofty
panoply of coloured worsted upon his head, and was covered with bells
from nose to tail. A ferocious-looking charioteer, stripped to his
shirt-sleeves, a sheepskin jacket dangling from his shoulder, sat
sideways upon the shaft, and belaboured with his whip-handle the lean
flanks of his beast, which sprang forward with redoubled fury at each
repetition of the stimulant.

There was nothing remarkable in the appearance of such a vehicle on a
Monday afternoon at the Alcala gate; and if we have honoured it with
especial notice, it is because, upon beholding it, the countenance of
Don Andrés was illumined by an expression, of the most agreeable
surprise. The cabriolet contained two persons: one of these was a little
old woman, in an antiquated black dress, whose gown, too short by an
inch, disclosed the hem of one of those yellow woolen petticoats
commonly worn by Castilian peasants. This venerable creature belonged to
the class of women known in Spain as _Tia_ Pelona, _Tia_ Blasia,
according to their name, and which answer to the French Mother Michel,
Mother Godichon, in the society Paul de Kock delights to sketch. Her
large, black, cadaverous physiognomy was relieved by dark sunken eyes,
and by a pair of mustaches shading the corners of her lips. Although she
had long passed the age of coquetry, she arranged her elbows under her
serge mantilla with an air of no small pretension, and flirted with a
certain dexterity a large green paper fan. It could hardly be the sight
of this amiable creature that brought a smile of satisfaction across the
features of Don Andrés.

The second occupant of the cabriolet was a young girl, sixteen or
eighteen years old--sixteen rather than eighteen. A black silk mantilla,
drooping from the top of a tall tortoiseshell comb, round which a
magnificent plait of hair was twisted, formed a frame to her lovely
countenance, whose paleness bordered on the olive. Her foot, worthy of a
Chinese beauty, was extended on the front of the calash, showing a
delicate satin shoe and a tight silk stocking with coloured clocks. One
of her hands, slender and well formed, although a little sun-burnt,
played with the corners of her mantilla, and on the other, which held a
white handkerchief, sparkled several silver rings--the richest treasures
of the manola's jewel-case. Buttons of jet glittered on her sleeve,
completing this strictly Spanish costume. Andrés recognised the charming
creature whose image had haunted him during the whole of the past week.
Accelerating his pace, he entered the bull-ring at the same time with
the two women. Chance had so distributed the numbers of the stalls that
Andrés found himself seated next to the young manola.

Whilst the benches of the amphitheatre became rapidly covered with
spectators, the bull-fighters assembled in a large white-washed
apartment, serving as a green-room for the actors in the sanguinary
drama. Amongst these was a man of five or eight-and-twenty, whose tawny
complexion, jet-black eyes, and crisp curling hair, told of an
Andalusian origin. A more robust body and better shaped limbs could
hardly be seen. They exhibited strength and agility combined in the
happiest proportions. Equally well qualified to run and to wrestle,
Nature, had she had the express intention of making a bull-fighter,
could not have succeeded better than when she moulded this slender
Hercules. Through the opening of his cloak glittered the spangles and
embroidery of his pink and silver vest, and the jewel of the ring that
confined the ends of his cravat; this jewel was of considerable value,
proving, as did the whole of the costume, that its owner belonged to the
aristocracy of his profession. His _mono_ of new ribbons, attached to
the lock of hair reserved expressly for that purpose, spread in gay
profusion over his nape; his montero, of the most glossy black, was
loaded with silk ornaments of the same colour; his pumps,
extraordinarily small and thin, would have done honour to a shoemaker,
and might have served a goddess of the ballet.

Nevertheless, Juancho--such was the name of the torero--had not the
frank, open air of a handsome young fellow with gay garments on his
back, about to be applauded by a host of pretty women. Did apprehension
of the approaching contest disturb his serenity? Had he seen in his
dreams an infernal bull bearing a matador empaled upon his horns of
red-hot steel? Nothing of the sort. This gloomy air was his wont since a
twelvemonth. Without being on bad terms with his comrades, there no
longer existed between him and them that jovial and careless familiarity
usual amongst persons who share the chances of a perilous profession. He
did not repulse advances, but he made none; and although an Andalusian,
he was often taciturn. If he at times threw off his melancholy, it was
to run into the opposite extreme, and abandon himself to a gaiety as
violent as it was factitious. Then he would drink like a fish, dance
like a madman, and quarrel about every thing and about nothing. The fit
over, he relapsed into his previous moody reserve.

The hour fixed for the commencement of the sport approached. Juancho
rose from his bench, threw off his cloak, took his sword, and mingled
with the motley group of _toreros_ and _chulos_, _banderillos_ and
_espadas_. The cloud had left his brow; his eyes sparkled, his nostril
was dilated. A singular expression of daring animated his fine features.
His foot pressed the ground energetically, and the nerves of his instep
quivered beneath the knitted silk like the tense-strings on a
guitar-handle. Juancho was really a splendid fellow, and his costume
wonderfully set off his physical perfections. A broad red sash encircled
his graceful waist; the silver embroideries covering his vest formed, at
the collar and pockets, and on the sleeves, patches where the groundwork
of the garment disappeared under the complications of the arabesques. It
was no longer pink embroidered with silver, but silver embroidered with
pink. So loaded were the shoulders with twist, filigree, knots and
ornaments of all kinds, that the arms seemed to issue from two crushed
crowns. The satin hose, braided and spangled on the seams, were
admirably adjusted to limbs combining power and elegance. The whole
dress was the masterpiece of Zapata of Granada,--of that Zapata,
unrivalled for _majo_ costumes, who weeps when he takes one home, and
offers his customer more money to resign it to him than he had asked for
making it. The learned in such matters did not consider the suit dear at
ten thousand reals. Worn by Juancho, it was worth twenty thousand.

The last flourish of trumpets sounded; the arena was cleared of dogs and
boys, and the troop of bull-fighters entered. A murmur of admiration
greeted Juancho when he made his obeisance before the queen's box; he
bent the knee with so good a grace, with an air at once, so humble and
so proud, and rose again so gracefully and easily, that the severest
critics and oldest frequenters of the circus declared none had ever done
it better.

Meanwhile Andrés, delighted to have found the manola, paid little
attention to the preliminaries of the fight, and the first bull had
already ripped up a horse before he bestowed a single look upon the
arena. He gazed at the young girl by his side, with an intentness that
would doubtless have embarrassed her had she perceived it. He thought
her more charming than ever; and certainly a more perfect type of
Spanish beauty had never sat upon the blue granite benches of the Madrid
circus. With admiration amounting to ecstasy, Andrés contemplated the
delicate profile, the thin, well-formed nose, with nostrils pink-tinted,
like the interior of a tropical shell; the full temples, where, beneath
the slightest possible tint of amber, meandered an imperceptible network
of blue veins; the mouth, fresh as a flower, ripe and ruddy as a fruit,
slightly opened by a half smile, and illuminated by a gleam of
mother-of-pearl; and above all, the eyes, whose glances, passing between
a thick double fringe of black lashes, possessed an irresistible
fascination. It was the Greek form with the Arab character: the style of
beauty would have had something startling in a London or Paris
drawing-room, but was perfectly in its place at a bull-fight and under
the ardent sky of Spain.

The old woman, less attentive than the young one to the progress of the
sport, watched the proceedings of Andrés with the look of a dog who
scents a thief. As he persisted in his contemplation of his pretty
neighbour, the old lady's anger gradually increased; she fidgeted on her
seat, rattled her fan, pushed her companion with her elbow, and asked
her all sorts of questions to oblige her to turn her head. But the young
girl either did not or would not understand; she gave short answers, and
resumed her attentive and serious attitude.

"The devil take the old witch!" muttered Andrés. "Tis a thousand pities
they have abolished the Inquisition! With such a face as that, she would
have been treated, without form of trial, to a ride on an ass, dressed
in a _san-benito_ and a sulphur shirt. She belongs to the seminary of
Barahona, and washes young girls for the sorcerers' sabbath."

Juancho, whose turn to kill had not yet come, stood carelessly in the
centre of the circus, paying no more attention to the bulls than if
they had been so many sheep. He scarcely deigned to take two or three
steps aside when the furious beasts showed a disposition to attack him.
His large bright black eye glanced round boxes, galleries, and benches,
where thousands of fans, of every hue, fluttered and palpitated like
butterflies' wings. He evidently sought some one. At last a gleam of joy
flashed across his brown features, and he made the slightest possible
movement of his head, the sort of salutation that actors sometimes
address to their acquaintances before the curtain. It was directed to
the bench on which sat the old woman and the young girl.

"Militona," said the duenna in a low voice, "Juancho sees us. Be
cautious! that young man ogles you, and Juancho is jealous."

"What is that to me?" replied Militona in the same tone.

"You know he does not jest with those who displease him."

"I have not looked at the gentleman, and besides, am I not my own

In saying she had not looked at Andrés, Militona was guilty of a slight
equivocation. She had not _looked_ at him, perhaps, for women can see
without looking, but she could have given a most minute description of
his person. And out of respect to truth, we must here mention that she
took Don Andrés de Salcedo for what he really was, a very smart and
good-looking cavalier.

Andrés, as a pretext for commencing a conversation, called one of those
dealers in oranges, preserved fruits, lozenges, and other sweetmeats,
who circulate in the corridor of the bull-ring, and offer their wares to
the spectators at the end of long sticks.

"Señorita, will you accept some comfits?" said Andrés, with an engaging
smile to his beautiful neighbour, offering her the open box.

The young girl turned quickly round, and looked at him with an air of
uneasy surprise.

"They are lemon and mint," said he, as if to decide her.

Militona, suddenly making up her mind, plunged her little fingers into
the box, and took a pinch of the lozenges.

"Luckily Juancho has his back turned," muttered a _majo_ who stood just
by, "or there would be blood on his knife to-night."

"Will this lady take some?" continued Andrés in a tone of exquisite
politeness, holding out the box to the horrible old woman, who was so
disconcerted by this piece of audacity that in her confusion she took
every one of the sugar-plums. Nevertheless, whilst emptying the box into
the palm of her hand, black as that of a mummy, she cast a furtive and
frightened glance at the circus, and heaved an enormous sigh.

At that moment the orchestra sounded the death: it was Juancho's turn to
kill. He approached the municipal box, made the usual salutation and
demand, and threw his montero into the air in right cavalier style. The
audience, usually so tumultuous, became profoundly silent. The bull
Juancho had to kill was of formidable breed; seven horses, stretched
lifeless upon the sand, their bowels protruding from hideous wounds,
told of his fury and vigour. The two picadores had left the arena,
sorely bruised and crippled by numerous falls, and the supernumerary
waited in the corridor, foot in stirrup and lance in fist, ready to
replace them. The chulos prudently kept themselves in the vicinity of
the palisade, one foot on the wooden ledge which aids them to leap it in
case of danger; and the victorious bull ranged the circus--stained here
and there by large puddles of blood, which the attendants dared not
approach to scatter with sawdust--striking the doors with his horns, and
tossing the dead horses into the air. Juancho approached the monstrous
beast with that firm and deliberate step before which lions themselves
retreat. The bull, astonished at sight of a fresh adversary, paused,
uttered a deep roar, shook the slaver from his muzzle, scratched the
earth with his hoof, lowered his head two or three times, and made a few
paces backwards. Juancho was magnificent to behold: his countenance
expressed dauntless resolution; his fixed and steadfast eyes, whose
pupils, surrounded by white, resembled stars of jet, darted invisible
rays which pierced the bull like steel darts; unconsciously, he
subjected the brute to that magnetism by which Van Amburgh sends his
trembling tigers crouching to the extremity of their den. Each forward
step made by the man was responded to by a backward one of the ferocious
beast. At this triumph of moral over brute force, the audience, seized
with enthusiasm, burst into frantic applause, shouting and stamping,
yelling out _vivas_, and ringing the species of bells which amateurs
take with them to the bull-fights. Walls and ceilings cracked beneath
this storm of admiration, the paint crumbled off and flew about in
whirlwinds of white dust. The torero, thus applauded, raised his head,
with flashing eyes and joyful heart, to the place where Militona sat, as
if to lay at her feet the admiration of a whole city. The moment was
badly chosen. Militona had dropped her fan, and Don Andrés, who had
snatched it up with all the precipitation of a person desirous to
strengthen with an additional thread the slender chain of a new
acquaintance, returned it to her with a happy smile and gallant gesture.
The young girl could not do less than acknowledge the polite attention
by a gracious smile and inclination of her head. Smile and bow were
detected by Juancho; his lips grew pale, his complexion green, the
orbits of his eyes became blood-shot, his hand contracted on his
sword-hilt, and the point of the weapon, which he held low, was thrust,
by a convulsive movement, thrice into the sand. The bull, no longer
under the spell of the fascinating glance, approached his adversary, who
neglected to put himself on guard. The interval between man and beast
was terribly small.

"Master Juancho is not easily frightened," observed some of the more
callous spectators.

"Juancho, have a care!" cried others, more humane; "Juancho _de mi
vida_, Juancho of my heart, Juancho of my soul, the bull is upon you!"

As to Militona, whether it was that the habit of bull-fights had blunted
her sensibility, or that she had entire confidence in the consummate
skill of Juancho, or because she took little interest in the man over
whom she exercised such influence, her face continued as calm as if
nothing unusual was occurring; only a slight flush appeared in the
centre of her cheek, and the lace of her mantilla rose and fell upon her
bosom with increased rapidity.

The cries of the spectators roused Juancho from his stupor: he drew
hastily back, and waved the scarlet folds of the _muleta_ before the
eyes of the bull. The instinct of self-preservation, the pride of the
gladiator, struggled in his breast with the desire to watch Militona; a
moment's neglect, a glance on one side, might cost him his life. It was
an infernal predicament for a jealous man. To behold, beside the woman
he loved, a gay, handsome, and attentive rival, while he, in the middle
of a circus, the eyes of twelve thousand spectators riveted upon him,
had, within a few inches of his breast, the sharp horns of a ferocious
beast which, under pain of dishonour, he could only kill in a certain
manner and by a wound in a certain place.

The torero, once more master of the _jurisdiction_, as it is said in
tauromachian slang, settled himself firmly on his heels, and
manoeuvred with the muleta to make the bull lower his head.

"What could he say to her," thought Jauncho, "that young fellow on whom
she smiled so sweetly?" Swayed by the reflection, he again forgot his
formidable antagonist, and involuntarily raised his eyes. The bull,
profiting by the momentary inattention, rushed upon the man; the latter,
taken unawares, leaped backwards, and, by a mechanical movement, made a
thrust with his sword. Several inches of the blade entered, but in the
wrong place. The weapon met the bone; a furious movement of the bull
made it rebound from the wound amidst a spout of blood, and fall to the
ground some paces off. Juancho was disarmed, and the bull more dangerous
than ever, for the misdirected thrust had served but to exasperate him.
The chulos ran to the rescue, waving their pink and blue cloaks.
Militona grew pale; the old woman uttered lamentable ejaculations, and
sighed like a stranded whale. The public, beholding Juancho's
inconceivable awkwardness, commenced one of those tremendous uproars in
which the Spanish people excel: a perfect hurricane of insulting
epithets, of vociferations and maledictions. "Away with the dog!" was
shouted on all sides; "Down with the thief, the assassin! To the galleys
with him! To Ceuta! The clumsy butcher, to spoil such a noble beast!"
And so on, through the entire vocabulary of abuse which the Spanish
tongue so abundantly supplies. Juancho stood erect under the storm of
insult, biting his lips, and tearing with his right hand the lace frills
of his shirt. His sleeve, ripped open by the bull's horn, disclosed his
arm a long violet scar. For an he tottered, and seemed about to fall,
suffocated by the violence of his emotions; but he promptly recovered
himself, ran to his sword, picked it up, straightened the bent blade
with his foot, and placed himself with his back towards the place where
Militona sat. At a sign he made, the chulos led the bull towards him by
tantalising it with their cloaks; and this time he dealt the animal a
downward thrust, in strict conformity with the laws of the sport--such a
one as the great Montés of Chiclana himself would not have disowned. The
sword was planted between the shoulders, and its cross-hilt, rising
between the horns of the bull, reminded of those Gothic engravings where
St Hubert is seen kneeling before a stag which bears a crucifix in its

The bull fell heavily on its knees before Juancho, as if doing homage to
his superiority, and after a short convulsion rolled over, its four feet
in the air.

"Juancho has taken a brilliant revenge! What a splendid thrust! He is
superior to Arjona and the Chiclanero; do you not think so, Señorita?"
cried Andrés enthusiastically to his neighbour.

"For God's sake, sir, not another word!" replied Militona very quickly,
without turning her head and scarcely moving her lips. The words were
spoken in a tone at once so imperative and so imploring, that Andrés
immediately saw it was not the artifice of a young girl begging to be
let alone, and hoping to be disobeyed. Neither could modesty dictate the
injunction. Nothing he had said called for such rigour, and manolas, the
grisettes of Madrid, are not usually--be it said without calumny--of
such extreme susceptibility. Real terror, apprehension of a danger
unknown to Andrés, was indicated by the hasty sentence.

"Can she be a princess in disguise?" said Andrés to himself,
considerably puzzled how to act. "If I hold my tongue, I shall look like
a fool, or, at any rate, like a very middling sort of Don Juan: if I
persist, I shall perhaps cause the poor girl some disagreeable scene.
Can she be afraid of the duenna? Hardly. When that amiable old sorceress
devoured my comfits, she became in some sort an accomplice. It cannot be
she whom my infanta dreads. Is there a father, brother, husband, or
jealous lover in the neighbourhood?" But on looking around, Andrés could
discover no one who seemed to pay the slightest attention to the
proceedings of the beautiful manola.

From the moment of the bull's death till the end of the fight, Juancho
did not once look at Militona. He despatched with unparalleled dexterity
two other bulls that fell to his share, and was applauded as vehemently
as he had previously been hissed. Andrés, either not deeming it prudent,
or not finding a good pretext to renew the conversation, didn't speak
another word to Militona, and even left the circus a few minutes before
the conclusion of the performances. Whilst stepping across the benches,
he whispered something to a boy of quick and intelligent physiognomy,
and then immediately disappeared.

The boy, when the audience rose to depart, mingled in the crowd, and,
without any apparent design, attached himself to the steps of Militona
and the duenna. He saw them get into their cabriolet, and when the
vehicle rolled away on its great scarlet wheels, he hung on behind, as
if giving way to a childish impulse, and was whirled through a cloud of
dust, singing at the top of his voice the popular ditty of the Bulls of

"Well done!" exclaimed Andrés, who, from an alley of the Prado, which he
had already reached, saw cab and boy rattle past: "in an hour I shall
know the address of the charming manola."

Andrés had reckoned without the chapter of accidents. In the Calle de
los Desamparados, a cut across the face from the whip of the surly
_calesero_, forced the ragged Mercury to let go his hold. Before he
could pick himself up, and rub the dust and tears from his eyes, the
vehicle was at the farther end of the street, and although Perico,
impressed with the importance of his mission, followed it at the top of
his speed, he lost sight of it in the labyrinth of lanes adjacent to the
Plaza de Lavapies--literally, Washfeet Square--a low quarter of Madrid.
The most he could ascertain was, that the calesin had deposited its
burthen in one of four streets, but in which of them it was impossible
to say. With the bait of a dollar before his eyes, however, the urchin
was not to be discouraged; and late that night, as Don Andrés was
returning from a wearisome tertulia, whither he had been compelled to
accompany Doña Feliciana de los Rios, he felt a pull at the skirt of his
coat. It was Perico.

"Caballero," said the child, "she lives in the Calle del Povar, the
third house on the right. I saw her at her window, taking in the water

It is difficult to describe the style of architecture of the house
inhabited by Militona, unless we designate it as the order composite.
Its front was characterised by a total absence of symmetry; the walls,
sadly out of the perpendicular, seemed about to fall, and would
doubtless have done so but for the support of sundry iron curves and
crosses, which held the bricks together, and of two adjacent houses of
more solid construction. From the lower part of the ricketty fabric the
plaster had peeled off in large scales, exposing the foundation wall;
whilst the upper stories, better preserved, exhibited traces of old pink
paint, as if the poor house blushed for shame of its miserable
condition. Near the roof of broken and disorderly tiles, which marked
out a brown festoon against the bright blue sky, was a little window,
surrounded by a recent coat of white plaster. On the right of this
casement hung a cage, containing a quail: on the left another cage, of
minute dimensions, decorated with red and yellow beads, served as palace
to a cricket. A jar of porous earth, suspended by the ears to a string,
and covered with a pearly moisture, held water cooling in the evening
breeze, and from time to time allowed a few drops to fall upon two pots
of sweet basil that stood beneath it. The window was that of Militona's

If the reader will venture to ascend with us this dark and broken
staircase, we will follow Militona as she trips lightly up it on her
return from the bull-fight; whilst old Aldonsa tolls behind, calling
upon the saints for succour, and clinging to the greasy rope that does
duty as a banister. On reaching the topmost landing-place, the pretty
manola raised a fragment of matting that hung before one of those
many-panelled doors common in Madrid, took her key and let herself in.
The interior of the room was humble enough. Whitewash replaced paper; a
scratched mirror--which reflected very imperfectly the charming
countenance of its owner--a plaster cast of St Antony, flanked by two
blue glass vases containing artificial flowers, a deal table, two
chairs, and a little bed covered with a muslin quilt, composed the
entire furniture. We must not forget an image of Our Lady, rudely
painted and gilt on glass, engravings of the fight of the second of May,
of the funeral of Daoiz and Velarde, and of a _picador_ on horseback; a
tambourine, a guitar, and a branch of palm, brought from church on the
previous Palm Sunday. Such was Militona's room; and although it
contained but the barest necessaries of life, it had not the chill and
dreary look of misery. A cheerful gleam illuminated it; the red brick
floor was gay and pleasant to the eye; there was no shade on the white
walls, or cobweb on the raftered roof--all was fresh, and bright, and
cheerful in the poor garret. In England it would have been perfect
destitution, in Spain it was almost comfort, and more than was
necessary for happiness.

The old woman was at last at the top of the stairs; she entered the room
and let herself fall upon one of the two chairs, which cracked under her
weight. "The water jar, Militona, for mercy's sake! I am half suffocated
with the heat and dust; and those accursed lozenges have put my throat
in a flame."

"You should not have eaten so many, _tia_," said the young girl,
smiling, and placing the jar to the old lady's lips. Aldonsa drank
eagerly, passed the back of her hand over her mouth, and fanned herself
in silence.

"Talking of lozenges," said she after a pause, "how furiously Juancho
looked at us! I am sure he missed the bull because that young spark
spoke to you. Juancho is jealous as a tiger, and if he has fallen in
with yonder pretty gentleman, he will have made him repent his
gallantry. I would not give much for the young man's skin; it will have
some famous holes in it. Do you remember the slash he gave Luca, for
offering you a nosegay at the festival of San Isidro?"

"I hope Juancho will commit no violence," exclaimed the young
girl--"What frightful slavery to be thus persecuted by his ferocious

"It is your fault," retorted Aldonsa. "Why are you so pretty?"

A sharp rap at the door, sounding as if given by an iron finger,
interrupted the conversation. The old woman got up and looked through
the little grating, inserted, according to Spanish custom, in the centre
of the door. Through the bars appeared the countenance of Juancho, pale
beneath the bronzed tint with which the sun of the arena had overlaid
it. Aldonsa opened the door and the torero entered. His features
betrayed the violent emotions that had agitated him in the bull-ring. To
the shame of having been hissed was superadded rage at not having
quitted the circus soon enough to overtake the young man who had been so
attentive to Militona. Where could he now find him? Doubtless he had
followed the manola and spoken to her again. And at the thought,
Juancho's hand mechanically sank to his girdle to seek his knife.

The torero sat down upon the second chair. Militona stood at the window,
pulling a flower to pieces; the old woman fanned herself more rapidly
than ever: an awkward silence reigned in the apartment. Aldonsa was the
first to break it.

"Does your arm hurt you, Juancho?"

"No," replied the bull-fighter, fixing his deep gaze upon Militona.

"You should bandage it, and apply salt and water," said the old woman,
determined not to let the conversation drop.

Juancho made no reply, but addressed himself to Militona.

"Who was the young man who sat beside you at the bull-fight?"

"I do not know him. I never saw him before."

"But you would like to know him?"

"The supposition is polite. Well, and what if I should?"

"I would kill him, the dainty gentleman in polished boots and white

"You talk like a madman, Juancho. What right have I given you to be
jealous of me? You love me, you say--is that my fault? Am I obliged to
adore you, because you have taken it into your head to find me pretty?"

"True enough," interposed the old woman, "she is not obliged.
Nevertheless, you would make a handsome couple. Prettier hand never
rested on more vigorous arm; and if you danced a cachuca together at the
garden of the Delicias, people would stand on the chairs to look at

"Have I played the coquet with you, Juancho? Have I sought, by word, or
look, or smile, to engage your affections?"

"No," replied the torero in a gloomy voice.

"I never promised you any thing, or gave you any hope: I always bade you
forget me. Why torment and offend me by your unjustifiable violence? You
crippled poor Luca, an honest fellow, who amused me and made me laugh,
and you wounded your friend Ginés almost to death, because he happened
to touch my hand. Do you think such conduct advances you in my good
opinion? And to-day at the circus you behaved absurdly; whilst watching
me, you let the bull come upon you, and gave a miserable thrust."

"But I love you, Militona!" exclaimed the bull-fighter passionately. "I
love you with all my heart and soul; I see but you in the world, and a
bull's horn entering my breast would not make me turn my head when you
smile upon another man. True, my manners are not gentle, for I have
passed my life in contests with savage beasts, in slaying and exposing
myself to be slain. I cannot be soft and simpering like those delicate
young gentlemen who pass their time in reading the papers and having
their hair curled! But if you will not be mine," resumed Juancho after a
pause, striking the table violently with his fist, "at any rate no one
else shall call you his." And with these words he got up and left the
room. "I will find him!" he muttered, as he strode down the stairs, "and
cool his courtship with three inches of steel."

All that night Juancho kept watch and ward in front of Militona's
dwelling, in hopes of falling in with her new admirer. Militona learned
this from old Aldonsa, who lived in the house, and she felt seriously
alarmed lest the handsome cavalier who had been so courteous to her at
the circus, and whom she could not remember without a certain interest,
should come to harm at the hands of the terrible torero who thus
tyrannised over her inclinations and scared away all aspirants to her
favour. Juancho, meanwhile, steady in his resolve to exterminate his
rival, had betaken himself, on coming off guard in the Calle del Povar,
to a tailor's in the Calle Mayor, and there had exchanged his usual
majo's dress for a suit of black and a round hat. Thus metamorphosed
into a sober citizen, he passed the day and evening in the Prado, the
most elegant coffee-houses, the theatres--in every place, in short,
where he thought it likely he should meet the object of his anger. But
nowhere could he find him, and that for the best of reasons. At the very
hour that the torero purchased the disguise intended to facilitate his
revenge, Don Andrés, in the back shop of a clothes-dealer on the
Rastro--the great Madrid market for second-hand articles of every
description--donned the complete costume of a manolo, trusting it would
aid him in his designs upon Militona. Equipped in a round jacket of
snuff-coloured cloth, abundantly decorated with small buttons, in loose
pantaloons, a silk sash, a dark cloak and velvet-trimmed hat, which
garments, although not quite new, were not wanting in a certain
elegance, and sat trimly upon his well-made person, Andrés hurried to
the Calle del Povar. He at once recognised the window described to him
by Perico; a curtain was drawn before it on the inner side, and nothing
indicated that the room had an occupant.

"Doubtless she is gone out," thought Andrés, "and will return only when
her day's work is finished. She must be a needle-woman, cigar-maker,
embroideress, or something of that kind," and he walked on.

Militona had not gone out. She was cutting out a dress upon her little
table. The occupation required no great mystery, but nevertheless her
door was bolted, for fear probably of some sudden invasion on the part
of Juancho, rendered doubly dangerous by the absence of Tia Aldonsa. As
she worked, Militona's thoughts travelled faster than her needle. They
ran upon the young man who had gazed at her the previous evening, at the
circus, with so tender and ardent a gaze, and who had spoken a few words
to her in a voice that still sounded pleasantly in her ear.

It was night, and Juancho, straitened and uncomfortable in his modern
costume, and wearied with fruitless researches, paced the alleys of the
Prado with hasty steps, looking every man in the face, but without
discovering his rival. At the same hour, Andrés, seated in an
_orchateria de chufas_ (orgeat-shop) nearly opposite Militona's house,
quietly consumed a glass of iced lemonade. He had placed himself on
picket there, with Perico for his vedette. Juancho would have passed him
by without recognising him, or thinking of seeking his enemy under the
round jacket and felt hat of a manolo, but Militona, concealed in the
corner of her window, had not been deceived for an instant by the young
man's disguise. Love has sharper eyes than hatred. Devoured by anxiety,
the manola asked herself what could be the projects of the persevering
cavalier, and dreaded the terrible scene that must ensue should Juancho
discover him. Andrés, his elbows upon the table, watched every one who
went in or out of the house; but night came and Militona had not
appeared. He began to doubt the correctness of his emissary's
information, when a light in the young girl's window showed that the
room was inhabited. Hastily writing a few words in pencil on a scrap of
paper, he called Perico, who lingered in the neighbourhood, and bade him
take the billet to the pretty manola. Perico slipped into the house,
fumbled his way up stairs, and discovered Militona's door by the light
shining through the cracks. Two discreet taps; the wicket was half
opened, and the note taken in.

"It is to be hoped she can read," thought Andrés, as he paid for his
lemonade, left the shop, and walked slowly up and down the street. This
was what he had written:--

"One who cannot forget you, and who would grieve to do so, ardently
desires to see you again; but after your last words at the circus, and
ignorant of your position, he fears to place you in peril by seeking an
interview. Danger to himself would be no obstacle. Extinguish your lamp,
and throw your answer from the window."

In a few minutes the lamp disappeared, the window opened, and Militona
took in her water-jar. In so doing she upset one of the pots of sweet
basil, which fell into the street and was broken to pieces. Amidst the
brown earth scattered upon the pavement, something white was visible. It
was Militona's answer. Andrés called a _sereno_, or watchman, who just
then passed, with his lantern at the end of his halbert, and begging him
to lower the light, read the following words, written in a tremulous
hand, and in large irregular letters:--

"Begone instantly.... I have no time to say more. To morrow, at ten
o'clock, in the church of San Isidro. For Heaven's sake begone! your
life is at stake."

"Thank you, my good man," said Andrés, putting a real into the sereno's
hand, "you may go."

The street was quite deserted, and Andrés was walking slowly away, when
the apparition of a man, wrapped in a cloak, beneath which the handle of
a guitar formed an acute angle, excited his curiosity, and he stepped
into the dark shadow of a low archway. The man threw back the folds of
his cloak, brought his guitar forward, and began that monotonous
thrumming which serves as accompaniment to serenades and seguidillas.
The object of this prelude evidently was to awaken the lady in whose
honour it was perpetrated; but Militona's window continued closed and
dark; and at last the man, compelled to content himself with an
invisible auditory,--in spite of the Spanish proverb, which says, no
woman sleeps so soundly that the twang of a guitar will not bring her to
the window,--began to sing in a strong Andalusian accent. The serenade
consisted of a dozen verses, in which the singer celebrated the charms
of a cruel mistress, vowed inextinguishable love, and denounced fearful
vengeance upon all rivals. The menaces, however, were far more abundant,
in this rude ditty, than the praises of beauty or protestations of

"_Caramba_!" thought Andrés, when the song concluded, "what ferocious
poetry! Nothing tame about those couplets. Let us see if Militona is
touched by the savage strain. This must be the terrible lover by whom
she is so frightened. She might be alarmed at less."

Don Andrés advanced his head a little; a moonbeam fell upon it, and
Juancho's quick eye detected him. "Good!" said Andrés to himself, "I am
caught. Now then, cool and steady."

Juancho threw down his guitar, which resounded mournfully on the
pavement, and ran up to Andrés, whose face was now in the full
moonlight, and whom he at once recognised.

"What do you here at this hour?" said the bull-fighter, in a voice that
trembled with passion.

"I listen to your music; it is a refined amusement."

"If you listened, you heard that I allow no one to set foot in this
street when I sing."

"I am naturally very disobedient," replied Andrés, with perfect

"You will change your character to-day."

"Certainly not--I am attached to my habits."

"Defend yourself, then, or die!" cried Juancho, drawing his knife, and
rolling his cloak round his arm. His movements were imitated by Andrés,
who placed himself on guard with a promptness that showed knowledge of
the weapon, and somewhat surprised the bull-fighter. Andrés had long
practised the _navaja_ under one of the best teachers in Seville, as at
Paris one sees young men of fashion take lessons of _savate_ and
singlestick, reduced to mathematical principles by Lecourt and Boucher.

Juancho hovered about his adversary, advancing his left arm, protected
by numerous folds of cloth, as a buckler, his right drawn back to give
more swing and force to the blow; now stooping with knees bent, then
rising up like a giant, and again sinking down like a dwarf; but the
point of his knife was always met by the cloaked arm of Andrés.
Alternately retreating and suddenly and impetuously attacking, he sprang
right and left, balancing his blade on his hand, as though about to hurl
it at his foe. Andrés replied several times to these varied attacks by
such rapid and well-directed thrusts, that a less adroit combatant than
Juancho would hardly have parried them. It was truly a fine fight, and
worthy a circle of spectators learned in the art; but, unfortunately,
the windows were all closed, and the street was empty. Academicians of
San Lucar, of the Potro of Cordova, of the Albaycin of Granada, and of
the _barrio_ of Triana,[12] why were ye not there to witness the doughty
deeds of those valiant champions?

The two champions, vigorous though they were, grew fatigued with such
violent exertions; the sweat streamed from their temples, their breasts
heaved like the bellows of a forge, their feet were heavier on the
ground, their movements less elastic. Juancho felt the point of Andrés'
knife pierce his sleeve, and his rage redoubled; with a desperate bound,
and at risk of his life, he sprang, like a panther, upon his enemy.
Andrés fell backwards, and, in his fall, burst open the
imperfectly-fastened door of Militona's house, in front of which the
duel occurred. Juancho walked quietly away. The _sereno_, who just then
passed the end of the street, uttered his monotonous cry;--"_Las once y
media, y sereno._"[13]

In an agony of anxiety, Militona had listened from her window to the
noise of this conflict; she would have called for help, but her tongue
clove to her palate, and terror compressed her throat with its iron
fingers. At last, half frantic, and unconscious of what she did, she
staggered downstairs, and reached the door just as it was forced open by
the weight of Andrés' inanimate body.

The next morning, soon after day-break, when the torero, in cloak and
slouched hat, walked into the neighbourhood of the Plaza de Lavapies to
hear what was said of the night's events, he learned, to his intense
horror, that Andrés, severely but not mortally wounded, had been
conveyed to Militona's room, and placed in her bed, where he now lay,
carefully tended by the manola, of whose humane and charitable conduct
the gossips of the quarter were loud in praise. When Juancho heard this,
his knees shook, and he was forced to support himself against the wall.
His rival in the chamber, and on the bed, of Militona! He could scarcely
refrain from rolling on the ground, and tearing his breast with his
nails. Recovering himself, he entered the house and ascended the stairs
with a heavy and sinister-sounding step. "In her chamber! In her
chamber!" he muttered. And, as he spoke, he instinctively opened and
shut his long Albacete knife. On reaching the top of the stairs, he
knocked violently at the manola's door.

Andrés started on his bed of suffering; Militona, who was seated near
him, turned deadly pale, and rose to her feet as if impelled by springs.
Tia Aldonsa looked horribly frightened, and devoutly crossed herself.
The blow was so imperative as to command attention; a repetition of the
summons would have forced the door from its hinges. With trembling hand
Aldonsa opened the wicket, and beheld Juancho's face at the aperture.
Medusa's mask, livid amidst its grim and snaky locks, could hardly have
produced a more terrible effect upon the poor old woman. Speechless and
petrified, she stood with fixed eyeballs, open mouth, and hands
extended. True it was, that the torero's head, seen through the grating,
had no very amiable and encouraging aspect; his eyes were injected with
blood; his face was livid, and his cheek-bones, whence the usual ruddy
tinge had fled, formed two white spots in his cadaverous countenance;
his distended nostrils palpitated like those of ferocious beasts that
had scent of a prey; his teeth were pressed upon his lip, which was
swollen and bloody from the bite. Jealousy, fury, and revenge had set
their stamp on his distorted features.

"Blessed Lady of Almudena!" muttered the old woman, "deliver us from
this peril, and I promise you a wax taper with a velvet handle."

Courageous as he was, Andrés experienced that uneasy feeling to which
the bravest men are subject when exposed to a danger against which they
are defenceless. He mechanically extended his hand to seek some weapon.

As nobody opened the door, Juancho applied his shoulder to it and gave a
push; the planks cracked, and the plaster crumbled from round the lock
and hinges. Then Militona, placing herself before Andrés, said in a calm
and firm voice to the old woman, who was half crazed with terror:

"Aldonsa, open the door; I insist upon it."

Aldonsa drew the bolt, and, standing close to the wall, pulled the door
back upon her for protection, like a helot letting a tiger into the
arena, or a servant admitting into the bull-ring some furious native of
Gaviria or Colmenar. Juancho, who expected more resistance, entered
slowly, as if disconcerted by the absence of obstacles. But a single
glance at Andrés, stretched in Militona's bed, brought back all his
fury. He seized the door, to which Tia Aldonsa, who thought her last
hour come, clung with all her might, and shutting it in spite of the
poor old woman's efforts, placed his back against it and crossed his
arms upon his breast.

"Angels of heaven!" muttered Aldonsa, her teeth chattering with terror,
"he will murder us all three. I will call out of the window."

And she made a step in that direction. But Juancho, guessing her
intention, seized her by the gown, and with a single jerk replaced her
against the wall, her skirt half torn off.

"Hag!" he cried, "if you attempt to call out, I will twist your neck
like a fowl's, and send your old soul to the devil. Come not between me
and the object of my wrath, or I crush you on my path."

And he pointed to Andrés, who, pale and feeble, in vain endeavoured to
raise his head from the pillow. It was a horrible situation. No noise
had been made that could alarm the neighbours, who, moreover, would have
been more likely to lock themselves in their rooms for fear of Juancho,
than to render assistance. There were no means of apprising the police,
or obtaining succour from without. Poor Andrés, severely wounded, weak
from loss of blood, without arms, and unable to use them had he had any,
lay at the mercy of a ruffian intoxicated with rage and jealousy. All
this because he had ogled a pretty manola at a bull-fight. It is
allowable to suppose that at that moment he regretted the tea-table,
piano, and prosaic society of Doña Feliciana de los Rios. Nevertheless,
on casting a supplicatory glance at Militona, as if to implore her not
to risk her safety in his defence, he found her so marvellously lovely
in her pallor and emotion, that he could not think her acquaintance
dearly purchased even by this great peril. She stood erect, one hand on
the edge of Andrés' bed, whom she seemed resolved to protect, the other
extended towards the door with a gesture of supreme majesty.

"What do you here, murderer?" she cried, in clear and thrilling tones.
"You sought a lover; you find a wounded and helpless man. Begone! Fear
you not lest the wound break out afresh at your presence? Are you not
sick of bloodshed? Do you come as an assassin?"

The young girl accentuated the last word in so singular a manner, and
accompanied it with so piercing and terrible a look, that Juancho was
embarrassed, reddened, turned pale, and the ferocity of his countenance
was exchanged for an expression of uneasiness. After a pause, he spoke
in a choked and faltering voice.

"Swear, by the relics of Monte Sagrado, and by the image of the Virgin
del Pilar, by your dead father, and your sainted mother, that you do not
love this man, and I instantly depart."

Andrés awaited Militona's reply with intense anxiety. She made none. Her
long black lashes drooped over her cheek, which was suffused with a
faint tinge of pink. Although this silence was perhaps his doom to
death, Andrés felt his heart leap with joy.

"If you will not swear," continued Juancho, "affirm it. I will believe
you; you have never lied. But if you keep silence, I must kill him." And
he approached the bed with uplifted knife.

"You love him?"

"Yes!" exclaimed the young girl, with flashing eyes and a voice
trembling with passion and indignation. "I love him. If he dies on my
account, let him know at least that he is beloved. Let him carry to his
grave that word, his consolation and your torture."

With a bound, Juancho stood beside Militona, whose arm he rudely

"Do not repeat it," he exclaimed, "or I throw you, with my knife in your
heart, upon the body of your minion."

"What care I!" cried the courageous girl. "Think you I will live, if he

Andrés made a desperate effort to raise himself. He endeavoured to call
out; a reddish foam rose to his lips--his wound had opened. He fell back
senseless upon his pillow.

"If you do not depart," cried Militona to the torero, "I hold you vile,
base, and a coward. I believe all that has been said of you; I believe
that you could have saved Domingues when the bull knelt upon his breast,
and that you would not, because you were meanly jealous of him."

"Militona! Militona! you have a right to hate me, although never did man
love woman as I love you; but you have no right to despise me. No human
power could save Domingues."

"If you would not have me think you an assassin, depart!"

"Yes, I will wait till he is cured," replied Juancho, in a gloomy
tone.--"Take good care of him. I have sworn, that whilst I live, no man
shall call you his."

During this stormy scene, old Aldonsa had slipped out to sound an alarm
in the neighbourhood. Five or six men now rushed into the room, seized
Juancho and dragged him out with them. But on the landing-place he shook
them from him, as a bull shakes off a pack of dogs, and forcing his way
through all opposition, reached the street and was lost to view in the
maze of buildings that surrounds the Plaza de Lavapies.

The friends of Don Andrés de Salcedo, uneasy at his disappearance, had
already applied to the police to obtain news of his fate. Researches
were made, and Argamasilla and Covachuelo, two of the most wily
alguazils of the secret police, at last succeeded in ferreting out
traces of the missing cavalier. Orders were given to arrest Juancho the
bull-fighter, on a charge of assassination. But the Madrid police are
not very celebrated for courage and decision, and the two thief-catchers
above named, to whom the execution of the warrant was intrusted,
proceeded on their mission with infinite delicacy, awed by the notorious
strength and fierceness of the torero. Evil tongues were ready to assert
that they took considerable pains not to meet with the man for whose
capture they affected to be anxious. At last, however, a clumsy spy
reported to them that the object of their timid researches had just
entered the circus with as calm an air as if he had no crime upon his
conscience, or fear of the arm of justice. Argamasilla and Covachuelo
could no longer evade the performance of their duty, and were compelled
to betake themselves to the place pointed out.

The unwelcome information was correct. Juancho had gone to the
circus,--driven thither by the force of habit rather than by any
interest in the sport that had once engrossed his thoughts and energies.
Since the terrible scene in Militona's room had convinced him she loved
another, his courage and energy seemed to have deserted him. He was
morose, listless, and indifferent to every thing. Nevertheless he had
instinctively wandered down to the bull-ring, to look at some remarkably
fine beasts that had been brought to the stable for the next day's
fight. He was still there, and was walking across the arena, when
Argamasilla and Covachuelo arrived with a little squad of assistants,
and Covachuelo, with infinite ceremony and courtesy, informed Juancho
that he was under the painful necessity of conducting him to prison.
Juancho shrugged his shoulders contemptuously and walked on. The
alguazil made a sign, and two men laid hands upon the torero, who
brushed them away as though they had been flies upon his sleeve. The
whole band then precipitated themselves upon him; he struggled
furiously, and knocked them about like nine-pins, but, sensible that he
must at last be overpowered by numbers, he managed gradually to get near
the _toril_,[14] and then, shaking off his assailants by a sudden
effort, he opened the door, and took refuge in that dangerous asylum.
His enemies endeavoured to follow him, but whilst they tried to force
the door, it suddenly flew open, and a bull, hunted from his stall by
Juancho, dashed with lowered horns and dreadful bellow amongst the
terrified troop. The poor devils had but just time to climb the
barriers, and one of them only escaped with a terrible rent in his lower

This daring proceeding of the besieged greatly disconcerted the
besiegers. Nevertheless they plucked up courage, and, after a while,
ventured to return to the charge. This time two bulls rushed out, and as
the police dispersed and got away with all the agility of fear, the wild
animals, seeing no human foes, turned their wrath against each other,
crossed their horns, and with muzzles in the dust of the circus, made
furious efforts for mastery.

"Comrade," cried Covachuelo to Juancho, "we know the extent of your
ammunition. You have still five bulls to let off; after that you will be
compelled to surrender unconditionally. If you capitulate and come out
at once, I will take you to prison with due regard for your feelings,
without handcuffs, in a coach at your own expense, and will say nothing
in my report of the resistance you have made, which would aggravate your

Juancho, careless about his liberty, ceased his defence, and gave
himself up to Argamasilla and Covachuelo, who took him to prison with
all the honours of war.

The torero's case was a bad one. The public prosecutor represented the
nocturnal combat as an attempted assassination. Fortunately Andrés, whom
a good constitution and Militona's unremitting care speedily restored to
health, interceded for him, representing the affair as a duel, fought
with an unusual weapon certainly, but with one which he could accept,
because he was acquainted with its management. The generous young man,
happy in Militona's love, thought poor Juancho had suffered sufficiently
on his account, without being sent to the galleys for a wound now
perfectly healed. Andrés held his present happiness cheaply bought at
the price of a stab. And as a murder can hardly be very severely
punished, when the victim is in perfect health and pleads for his
assassin, the result of Salcedo's mediation, and of the interest he
made, was the release of Juancho, who left his prison with the bitter
regret of owing his liberty to the man he most hated upon earth, and
from whom he would sooner have died than receive a favour.

"Unhappy wretch that I am!" he exclaimed, when he once more found
himself unfettered and in sunshine. "Henceforward, I must hold this
man's life sacred, or deserve the epithet of coward and villain. Oh! I
would a thousand times have preferred the galleys! In ten years I should
have returned and could have revenged myself."

From that day Juancho disappeared. It was said that he had been seen
galloping on his famous black horse in the direction of Andalusia. Be
that as it might, he was no more seen in Madrid.

The departure of the bull-fighter was shortly followed by the marriage
of Andrés and Militona, Andrés having been released from his previous
engagement with Doña Feliciana de los Rios, who had discovered, during
his illness, that she had in fact very little affection for her
betrothed husband, and had encouraged the attentions of a rich English
traveller. The double marriage took place on the same day and in the
same church. Militona had insisted on making her own wedding dress; it
was a masterpiece, and seemed cut out of the leaves of a lily. It was so
well made, that nobody remarked it. Feliciana's dress was extravagantly
rich. When they came out of church, every body said of Feliciana, "What
a lovely gown!" and, of Militona, "What a charming person!"

Two months had elapsed, and Don Andrés de Salcedo and his lady lived in
retirement at a delicious country villa near Granada. With good sense
that equalled her beauty, Militona refused to mix in the society to
which her marriage elevated her, until she should have repaired the
deficiencies of an imperfect education. The departure of a friend for
the Manillas, compelled her husband to visit Cadiz, and she accompanied
him. They found the Gaditanos raving of a torero who performed prodigies
of skill and courage. Such temerity had never before been witnessed. He
gave out that he came from Lima in South America, and was then engaged
at Puerto-de-Santa-Maria. Thither Andre's, who felt his old tauromachian
ardour revive at the report of such prowess, persuaded his wife to
accompany him, and at the appointed hour they took their places in a box
at the circus. On all sides they heard praises of this famous torero.
His incredible feats were in every body's mouth, and all declared that
if he was not killed, he would very soon eclipse the fame of the great
Montés himself.

The fight began, and the torero made his appearance. He was dressed in
black; his vest, garnished with ornaments of silk and jet, had a sombre
richness harmonizing with the wild and almost sinister countenance of
its wearer; a yellow sash was twisted round his meagre person, which
seemed composed solely of bone and muscle. His dark countenance was
traversed by furrows, traced, as it seemed, rather by the hand of care
than by lapse of years; for although youth had disappeared from his
features, middle age had not yet set its stamp upon them. There was
something in the face and figure of the man which Audrés thought he
remembered; but he could not call to mind when or where he had seen him.
Militona, on the other hand, did not doubt for an instant. In spite of
his small resemblance to his former self, she at once recognised

The terrible change wrought in so short a time had something that
alarmed her. It proved how terrible was the passion that had thus played
havoc with this man of iron frame.

Hastily opening her fan to conceal her face, she said to Andrés in a
hurried voice:

"It is Juancho."

But her movement was too late; the torero had seen her; with his hand he
waved a salutation.

"Juancho it really is!" cried Andrés; "the poor fellow is sadly changed;
he has grown ten years older. Ah! _he_ is the new torero, of whom they
talk so much: he has returned to the bull-ring."

"Let us go, Andrés," said Militona to her husband. "I know not why, but
I am very uneasy; I feel sure something will happen."

"What can happen," replied Andrés, "except the death of horses and the
fall of a few picadores?"

"I fear lest Juancho should commit some extravagance,--some furious

"You cannot forget that unlucky stab, or lucky one, I should rather call
it, since to it I owe my present happiness." And Andrés tenderly pressed
the hand of his bride, to whose cheeks the blood that for an instant had
left them, now began to return. "If you knew Latin--which you
fortunately do not--I would tell you that the law of _non bis in idem_
guarantees my safety. Besides the honest fellow has had time to calm

Juancho performed prodigies. He behaved as if invulnerable; took bulls
by the tail and made them waltz, put his foot between their horns and
leaped over them, tore off the ribbons with which they were adorned,
planted himself right in their path and harassed them with unparalleled
audacity. The delighted spectators were outrageous in their applause,
and swore that such a bull-fight had never been witnessed since the days
of the Cid Campeador. The other bull-fighters, electrified by the
example of their chief, seemed equally reckless of danger. The picadores
advanced to the very centre of the circus, the banderillos drove their
darts into the flanks of the bull without once missing. When any of them
were hard pressed, Juancho was ever at hand, prompt to distract the
attention of the furious beast, and draw its anger on himself. One of
the chulos fell, and would have been ripped from navel to chin, had not
Juancho, at risk of his life, forced the bull from its victim. Every
thrust he gave was delivered with such skill and force that the sword
entered exactly between the shoulders, and disappeared to the hilt. The
bulls fell at his feet as though struck by lightning, and a second blow
was never once required.

"_Caramba_!" exclaimed Andrés, "Montes, the Chiclanero, Arjona, Labi,
and the rest of them, had better take care; Juancho will excel them all,
if he has not done so already."

But such exploits as these were not destined to be repeated; Juancho
attained that day the highest sublimity of the art; he did things that
will never be done again. Militona herself could not help applauding;
Andrés was wild with delight and admiration; the delirium was at its
height; frantic acclamations greeted every movement of Juancho.

The sixth bull was let into the arena.

Then an extraordinary and unheard-of thing occurred: Juancho, after
playing the bull and manoeuvring his cloak with consummate dexterity,
took his sword, and, instead of plunging it into the animal's neck, as
was expected, hurled it from him with such force, that it turned over
and over in the air, and stuck deep in the ground at the other end of
the circus.

"What is he about," was shouted on all sides. "This is madness--not
courage! What new scheme is this? Will he kill the bull with his bare

Juancho cast one look at Militona--one ineffable look of love and
suffering. Then he remained motionless before the bull. The beast
lowered its head. One of its horns entered the breast of the man, and
came out red to the very root. A shriek of horror from a thousand voices
rent the sky.

Militona fell back upon her chair in a deathlike swoon.


[11] _Sombra por la tarde_,--"shade for the afternoon." The tickets for
the bull-fight vary in value according as they are for the sunny or
shady side of the arena.

[12] Places of bad fame in the respective towns, frequented by thieves
and suspicious characters.

[13] "Half-past eleven, and a fine night."

[14] The stable where the bulls are kept.




"Hallo, Tom! Are you not up yet? Why, man, the judges have gone down to
the court half an hour ago, escorted by the most ragged regiment of
ruffians that ever handled a Lochaber-axe."

Such was my matutinal salutation to my friend Thomas Strachan, as I
entered his room on a splendid spring morning. Tom and I were early
college allies. We had attended, or rather, to speak more correctly,
taken out tickets for the different law classes during the same
sessions. We had fulminated together within the walls of the Juridical
Society on legal topics which might have broken the heart of Erskine,
and rewarded ourselves diligently thereafter with the usual relaxations
of a crab and a comfortable tumbler. We had aggravated the same grinder
with our deplorable exposition of the Pandects, and finally assumed, on
the same day, the full-blown honours of the Advocate's wig and gown. Nor
did our fraternal parallel end there: for although we had walked the
boards of the Parliament House with praiseworthy diligence for a couple
of sessions, neither of us had experienced the dulcet sensation which is
communicated to the palm by the contact of the first professional
guinea. In vain did we attempt to insinuate ourselves into the good
graces of the agents, and coin our intellects into such jocular remarks,
as are supposed to find most favour in the eyes of facetious
practitioners. In vain did I carry about with me, for a whole week, an
artificial process most skilfully made up; and in vain did Tom compound
and circulate a delectable ditty, entitled, "The Song of the
Multiplepoinding." Not a single solicitor would listen to our wooing, or
even intrust us with the task of making the simplest motion. I believe
they thought me too fast, and Tom too much of a genius: and, therefore,
both of us were left among the ranks of the briefless army of the stove.
This would not do. Our souls burned within us with a noble thirst for
legal fame and fees. We held a consultation (without an agent) at the
Rainbow, and finally determined that since Edinburgh would not hear us,
Jedburgh should have the privilege of monopolising our maiden eloquence
at the ensuing justiciary circuit. Jedburgh presents a capital field to
the ambition of a youthful advocate. Very few counsel go that way; the
cases are usually trifling, and the juries easily bamboozled. It has
besides this immense advantage--that should you by any accident happen
to break down, nobody will in all probability be the wiser for it,
provided you have the good sense to ingratiate yourself with the

Tom and I arrived at Jedburgh the afternoon before the circuit began. I
was not acquainted with a human being within the parliamentary
boundaries of that respectable borough, and therefore experienced but a
slight spasm of disappointment when informed by the waiter at the inn,
that no inquiries had yet been made after me, on the part of writers
desirous of professional assistance. Strachan had been wiser. Somehow or
other, he had gotten a letter of introduction to one Bailie Beerie, a
notable civic dignitary of the place; and accordingly, on presenting his
credentials, was invited by that functionary to dinner, with a hint that
he "might maybe see a wheen real leddies in the evening." This pointed
so plainly to a white choker and dress boots, that Strachan durst not
take the liberty of volunteering the attendance of his friend; and
accordingly I had been left alone to wile away, as I best might, the
tedium of a sluggish evening. Before starting, however, Tom pledged
himself to return in time for supper; as he entertained a painful
conviction that the party would be excessively slow.

So long as it was light, I amused myself pretty well, by strolling along
the banks of the river, and enunciating a splendid speech for the pannel
in an imaginary case of murder. However, before I reached the
peroration, (which was to consist of a vivid picture of the deathbed of
a despairing jury-man, conscience-stricken by the recollection of an
erroneous verdict,) the shades of evening began to close in; the trouts
ceased to leap in the pool, and the rooks desisted from their cawing. I
returned to discuss my solitary mutton at the inn; and then, having
nothing to do, sat down to a moderate libation, and an odd number of the
Temperance Magazine, which valuable tract had been left for the
reformation of the traveller by some peripatetic disciple of Father

Nine o'clock came, but so did not Strachan. I began to wax wroth,
muttered anathemas against my faithless friend, rang for the waiter,
and--having ascertained the fact that a Masonic Lodge was that evening
engaged in celebrating the festival of its peculiar patron--I set out
for the purpose of assisting in the pious and mystic labours of the
Brethren of the Jedburgh St Jeremy. At twelve, when I returned to my
quarters, escorted by the junior deacon, I was informed that Strachan
had not made his appearance, and accordingly I went to bed.

Next morning, I found Tom, as already mentioned, in his couch. There was
a fine air of negligence in the manner in which his habiliments were
scattered over the room. One glazed boot lay within the fender, whilst
the other had been chucked into a coal-scuttle; and there were evident
marks of mud on the surface of his glossy kerseymeres. Strachan himself
looked excessively pale, and the sole rejoinder he made to my
preliminary remark was, a request for soda-water.

"Tom," said I, inexpressibly shocked at the implied confession of the
nature of his vespers--"I wonder you are not ashamed of yourself! Have
you no higher regard for the dignity of the bar you represent, than to
expose yourself before a Jedburgh Bailie?"

"Dignity be hanged!" replied the incorrigible Strachan. "Bailie Beerie
is a brick, and I won't hear a word against him. But, O Fred! if you
only knew what you missed last night! Such a splendid woman--by Jove,
sir, a thoroughbred angel. A bust like one of Titian's beauties, and the
voice of a lovelorn nightingale!"

"One of the Misses Beerie, I presume. Come, Tom, I think I can fill up
your portrait. Hair of the auburn complexion, slightly running into the
carrot--skin fair, but freckled--greenish eyes--red elbows--culpable
ankles--elephantine waist--and sentiments savouring of the Secession."

"Ring the bell for the waiter, and hold your impious tongue. You never
were farther from the mark in your life. The wing of the raven is not
more glossy than her hair--and oh, the depth and melting lustre of those
dark unfathomable eyes! Waiter! a bottle of soda-water, and you may put
in a thimbleful of cognac."

"Come, Tom!--none of your ravings. Is this an actual Armida, or a new
freak of your own imagination?"

"_Bonâ fide_--an angel in every thing, barring the wings."

"Then how the deuce did such a phenomenon happen to emerge at the

"That's the very question I was asking myself during the whole time of
dinner. She was clearly not a Scotswoman. When she spoke, it was in the
sweet low accents of a southern clime, and she waved away the proffered
haggis with an air of the prettiest disgust!"

"But the Bailie knew her?"

"Of course he did. I got the whole story out of him after dinner, and,
upon my honour, I think it is the most romantic one I have ever heard.
About a week ago, the lady arrived here without attendants. Some say she
came in the mail-coach--others in a dark travelling chariot and pair.
However, what matters it? the jewel can derive no lustre or value from
the casket!"

"Yes--but one always likes to have some kind of idea of the setting. Get

"She seemed in great distress, and inquired whether there were any
letters at the post-office addressed to the Honourable Dorothea Percy.
No such epistle was to be found. She then interrogated the landlord,
whether an elderly lady, whose appearance she minutely described, had
been seen in the neighbourhood of Jedburgh; but except old Mrs
Slammingham of Summertrees, who has been bed-ridden for years, there was
nobody in the county who at all answered to the description. On hearing
this, the lady seemed profoundly agitated--shut herself up in a private
parlour, and refused all sustenance."

"Had she not a reticule with sandwiches, Tom?"

"Do not tempt me to commit justifiable homicide--you see I am in the act
of shaving.--At last the landlady, who is a most respectable person, and
who felt deeply interested at the desolate situation of the poor young
lady, ventured to solicit an interview. She was admitted. There are
moments when the sympathy of even the humblest friend is precious. Miss
Percy felt grateful for the interest so displayed, and confided the tale
of her griefs to the matronly bosom of the hostess."

"And she told you?

"No,--but she told Bailie Beerie. That active magistrate thought it his
duty to interfere. He waited upon Miss Percy, and from her lips he
gathered the full particulars of her history. Percy is not her real
name, but she is the daughter of an English peer of very ancient family.
Her father having married a second time, Dorothea was exposed to the
persecutions of a low-minded vulgar woman, whose whole ideas were of
that mean and mercenary description which characterise the Caucasian
race. Naomi Shekles was the offspring of a Jew, and she hated, whilst
she envied, the superior charms of the noble Norman maiden. But she had
gained an enormous supremacy over the wavering intellect of the elderly
Viscount; and Dorothea was commanded to receive, with submission, the
addressses of a loathsome apostate, who had made a prodigious fortune in
the railways."

"One of the tribe of Issachar?"

"Exactly. A miscreant whose natural function was the vending of cast
habiliments. Conceive, Fred, what the fair young creature must have felt
at the bare idea of such shocking spousals! She besought, prayed,
implored,--but all in vain. Mammon had taken too deep a root in the
paternal heart,--the old coronet had been furbished up by means of
Israelitish gold, and the father could not see any degradation in
forcing upon his child an alliance similar to his own."

"You interest me excessively."

"Is it not a strange tale?" continued Thomas, adjusting a false collar
round his neck. "I knew you would agree with me when I came to the
pathetic part. Well, Fred, the altar was decked, the ornaments ready,
the Rabbi bespoke----"

"Do you mean to say, Strachan, that Lady Dorothea was to have been
married after the fashion of the Jews?"

"I don't know exactly. I think Beerie said it was a Rabbi; but that may
have been a flight of his own imagination. However, somebody was ready
to have tied the nuptial knot, and all the joys of existence, and its
hopes, were about to fade for ever from the vision of my poor Dorothea!"

"_Your_ Dorothea!" cried I in amazement. "Why, Tom--you don't mean to
insinuate that you have gone that length already?"

"Did I say mine?" repeated Strachan, looking somewhat embarrassed. "It
was a mere figure of speech: you always take one up so uncommonly
short.--Nothing remained for her but flight, or submission to the Cruel
mandate. Like a heroic girl, in whose veins the blood of the old
crusaders was bounding, she preferred the former alternative. The only
relation whom she could apply in so delicate, a juncture, was an aged
aunt, residing somewhere in the north of Scotland. To her she wrote,
beseeching her, as she regarded the memory of her buried sister, to
receive her miserable child; and she appointed this town, Jedburgh, as
the place of meeting."

"But where's the aunt?"

"That's just the mysterious part of the business. The crisis was so
imminent that Dorothea could not wait for a reply. She disguised
herself,--packed up a few jewels which had been bequeathed to her by
her mother,--and, at the dead of night, escaped from her father's
mansion. Judge of her terror when, on arriving here, panting and perhaps
pursued, she could obtain no trace whatever of her venerable relative.
Alone, inexperienced and unfriended, I tremble to think what might have
been her fate, had it not been for the kind humanity of Beerie."

"And what was the Bailie's line of conduct?"

"He behaved to her, Fred, like a parent. He supplied her wants, and
invited her to make his house her home, at least until the aunt should
appear. But the noble creature would not subject herself to the weight
of so many obligations. She accepted, indeed, his assistance, but
preferred remaining here, until she could place herself beneath
legitimate guardianship. And doubtless," continued Strachan with
fervour, "her good angel is watching over her."

"And this is the whole story?"

"The whole."

"Do you know, Tom, it looks uncommonly like a piece of deliberate

"Your ignorance misleads you, Fred. You would not say so had you seen
her. So sweet--so gentle--with such a tinge of melancholy resignation in
her eye, like that of a virgin martyr about to suffer at the stake! No
one could look upon her for a moment, and doubt her purity and truth."

"Perhaps. But you must allow that we are not living exactly in the ages
of romance. An elopement with an officer of dragoons is about the
farthest extent of legitimate enterprise which is left to a modern
damsel; and, upon my word, I think the story would have told better, had
some such hero been inserted as a sort of counterpoise to the Jew. But
what's the matter? Have you lost any thing?"

"It is very odd!" said Strachan, "I am perfectly certain that I had on
my emerald studs last night. I recollect that Dorothea admired them
exceedingly. Where on earth can I have put them?"

"I don't know, I'm sure. I suspect, Tom, you and the Bailie were rather
convivial after supper. Is your watch wound up?"

"Of course it is. I assure you you are quite wrong. It was a mere matter
of four or five tumblers. Very odd this! Why--I can't find my watch

"Hallo! what the deuce! Have we fallen into a den of thieves? This is a
nice beginning to our circuit practice."

"I could swear, Fred, that I put it below my pillow before I went to
sleep. I remember, now, that it was some time before I could fit in the
key. What can have become of it?"

"And you have not left your room since?"

"No, on my word of honour!"

"Pooh--pooh! Then it can't possibly be gone. Look beneath the bolster."

But in vain did we search beneath bolster, mattress, and blankets; yea,
even downwards to the fundamental straw. Not a trace was to be seen of
Cox Savory's horizontal lever, jewelled, as Tom pathetically remarked,
in four special holes, and warranted to go for a year without more than
a minute's deviation. Neither were the emerald studs, the pride of
Strachan's heart, forthcoming. Boots, chamber-maid, and waiter were
collectively summoned--all assisted in the search, and all asseverated
their own integrity.

"Are ye sure, sir, that ye brocht them hame?" said the waiter, an acute
lad, who had served his apprenticeship at a commercial tavern in the
Gorbals; "Ye was gey an' fou when ye cam in here yestreen."

"What do you mean, you rascal?"

"Ye ken ye wadna gang to bed till ye had anither tumbler."

"Don't talk trash! It was the weakest cold-without in the creation."

"And then ye had a sair fecht on politics wi' anither man in the

"Ha! I remember now--the bagman, who is a member of the League! Where is
the commercial villain?"

"He gaed aff at sax preceesely, this morning, in his gig, to Kelso."

"Then, by the head of Thistlewood!" cried Strachan, frantically, "my
ticker will be turned into tracts against the corn-laws!"

"Hoot na!" said the waiter, "I canna think that. He looked an unco
respectable-like man."

"No man can be respectable," replied the aristocratic Thomas, "who
sports such infernal opinions as I heard him utter last night. My poor
studs! Fred.--they were a gift from Mary Rivers before we quarreled, and
I would not have lost them for the universe! Only think of them being
exposed for sale at a free-trade bazar!"

"Come, Tom--they may turn up yet."

"Never in this world, except at a pawnbroker's. I could go mad to think
that my last memorial of Mary is in all probability glittering in the
unclean shirt of a bagman!"

"Had you not better apply to the Fiscal?"

"For what purpose? Doubtless the scoundrel has driven off to the nearest
railway, and is triumphantly counting the mile-posts as he steams to his
native Leeds. No, Fred. Both watch and studs are gone beyond the hope of

"The loss is certainly a serious one."

"No doubt of it: but a thought strikes me. You recollect the edict,
_nautae_, _caupones_, _stabularii_? I have not studied the civil law for
nothing and am clearly of opinion, that in such a case the landlord is

"By Jove! I believe you are right. But it would be as well to turn up
Shaw and Dunlop for a precedent before you make any row about it.
Besides, it may be rather difficult to establish that you lost them at
the inn."

"If they only refer the matter to my oath, I can easily settle that
point," replied Strachan. "Besides, now that I think of it, Miss Percy
can speak to the watch. She asked me what o'clock it was just before we
parted on the stairs."

"Eh, what! Is the lady in this house?"

"To be sure--did I not tell you so?"

"I say, Tom--couldn't you contrive to let one have a peep at this angel
of yours?"

"Quite impossible. She is the shyest creature in the world, and would
shrink from the sight of a stranger."

"But, my dear Tom----"

"I can't do it, I tell you; so it's no use asking me."

"Well, I must say you are abominably selfish. But what on earth are you
going to do with that red and blue Joinville? You can't go down to court
without a white neckcloth."

"I am not going down to court."

"Why, my good fellow! what on earth is the meaning of this?"

"I am not going down to court, that's all. I say, Fred, how do I look in
this sort of thing?"

"Uncommonly like a cock-pheasant in full plumage. But tell me what you

"Why, since you must needs know, I am going up stairs to breakfast with
Miss Percy."

So saying, Mr Strachan made me a polite bow, and left the apartment. I
took my solitary way to the courthouse, marvelling at the extreme
rapidity of the effect which is produced by the envenomed darts of


On entering the court, I found that the business had commenced. An
enormous raw-boned fellow, with a shock of the fieriest hair, and hands
of such dimensions that a mere glimpse of them excited unpleasant
sensations at your windpipe, was stationed at the bar, to which, from
previous practice, he had acquired a sort of prescriptive right.

"James M'Wilkin, or Wilkinson, or Wilson," said the presiding judge, in
a tone of disgust which heightened with each successive alias, "attend
to the indictment which is about to be preferred against you."

And certainly, if the indictment contained a true statement of the
facts, James M'Wilkin, or Wilkinson, or Wilson was about as
thoroughpaced a marauder as ever perambulated a common. He was charged
with sheep-stealing and assault; inasmuch as, on a certain night
subsequent to the Kelso fair, he, the said individual with the plural
denominations, did wickedly and feloniously steal, uplift, and away
take from a field adjoining to the Northumberland road, six wethers, the
property, or in the lawful possession of, Jacob Gubbins, grazier, then
and now or lately residing in Morpeth; and moreover, on being followed
by the said Gubbins, who demanded restitution of his property, he, the
said M'Wilkin, &c., had, in the most brutal manner, struck, knocked
down, and lavished divers kicks upon the corporality of the Northumbrian
bumpkin, to the fracture of three of his ribs, and otherwise, to the
injury of his person.

During the perusal of this formidable document by the clerk, M'Wilkin
stood scratching his poll, and leering about him as though he considered
the whole ceremony as a sort of solemn joke. I never in the course of my
life cast eyes on a more nonchalant or unmitigated ruffian.

"How do you say, M'Wilkin," asked the judge; "are you guilty or not

"Not guilty, aff course. D'ye tak me for a fule?" and M'Wilkin flounced
down upon his seat, as though he had been an ornament to society.

"Have you a counsel?" asked the judge.

"De'il ane--nor a bawbee," replied the freebooter.

Acting upon the noble principle of Scottish jurisprudence, that no man
shall undergo his trial without sufficient legal advice, his lordship in
the kindest manner asked me to take charge of the fortunes of the
forlorn M'Wilkin. Of course I made no scruples; for, so long as it was
matter of practice, I should have felt no hesitation in undertaking the
defence of Beelzebub. I therefore leaned across the dock, and exchanged
a few hurried sentences with my first client.

"Why don't you plead guilty?"

"What for? I've been here before. Man, I'm thinking ye're a saft ane!"

"Did you not steal the sheep."'

"Ay--that's just the question. Let them find that out."

"But the grazier saw you?"

"I blackened his e'es."

"You'll be transported to a dead certainty."

"Deevil a fears, if ye're worth the price o' half a mutchkin. I'm
saying--get me a Hawick jury, and it's a' richt. They ken me gey and
weel thereabouts."

Although I was by no means satisfied in my own mind that an intimate
acquaintance with M'Wilkin and his previous pursuits would be a strong
recommendation in his favour to any possible assize, I thought it best
to follow his instructions, and managed my challenges so well that I
secured a majority of Hawickers. The jury being sworn in, the cause
proceeded; and certainly, before three witnesses had been examined, it
appeared to me beyond all manner of doubt, that, in the language of Tom
Campbell, my unfortunate client was

     "Doom'd the long coves of Sydney isle to see,"

as a permanent addition to that cultivated and Patagonian population.
The grazier stood to his story like a man, and all efforts to break him
down by cross-examination were fruitless. There was also another hawbuck
who swore to the sheep, and was witness to the assault; so that, in
fact, the evidence was legally complete.

Whilst I was occupied in the vain attempt to make Gubbins contradict
himself, there had been a slight commotion in the court-room. On looking
round afterwards, I was astonished to behold my friend Strachan seated
in the magistrate's box, next to a very pretty and showily-dressed
woman, to whom he was paying the most marked and deliberate attention.
On the other side of her was an individual in a civic chain, whose fat,
pursy, apoplectic appearance, and nose of the colour of an Orleans plum,
thoroughly realised my mental picture of the Bailie. His small,
blood-shot eyes twinkled with magisterial dignity and importance; and he
looked, beside Miss Percy--for I could not doubt that it was she--like a
satyr in charge of Florimel.

The last witness for the crown, a very noted police officer from
Glasgow, was then put into the box, to prove a previous conviction
against my friend M'Wilkin. This man bore a high reputation in his
calling, and was, indeed, esteemed as a sort of Scottish Vidocq, who
knew by headmark every filcher of a handkerchief between Caithness and
the Border. He met the bold broad stare of the prisoner with a kind of
nod, as much as to assure him that his time was very nearly up; and then
deliberately proceeded to take a hawk's-eye view of the assembly. I
noticed a sort of quiet sneer as he glanced at the Magistrate's box.

"Poor Strachan!" thought I. "His infatuation must indeed be palpable,
since even a common officer can read his secret in a moment."

I might just as well have tried to shake Ailsa Craig as to make an
impression upon this witness; however, heroically devoted to my trust, I
hazarded the attempt, and ended by bringing out several additional tales
of turpitude in the life and times of M'Wilkin.

"Make room there in the passage! The lady has fainted," cried the macer.

I started to my feet, and was just in time to see Miss Percy conveyed
from the court in an apparently inanimate state, by the Bailie and the
agitated Strachan.

"Devilish fine-looking woman that!" observed the Advocate-Depute across
the table. "Where did your friend Mr Strachan get hold of her?"

"I really don't know. I say--are you going to address the jury for the

"It is quite immaterial. The case is distinctly proved, and I presume
you don't intend to speak?"

"I'm not so sure of that."

"Oh, well,--in that case I suppose I must say a word or two. This closes
the evidence for the crown, my lord," and the Depute began to turn over
his papers preparatory to a short harangue.

He had just commenced his speech, when I felt a hand laid upon my
shoulder. I looked around: Strachan was behind me, pale and almost
breathless with excitement.

"Fred--can I depend upon your friendship?"

"Of course you can. What's the row?"

"Have you ten pounds about you?"

"Yes--but what do you mean to do with them? Surely you are not going to
make a blockhead of yourself by bolting?"

"No--no! give me the money--quick!"

"On your word of honour, Tom?"

"On my sacred word of honour!--That's a good fellow--thank you, Fred;"
and Strachen pocketed the currency. "Now," said he, "I have just one
other request to make."

"What's that?"

"Speak against time, there's a dear fellow! Spin out the case as long as
you can, and don't let the jury retire for at least three quarters of an
hour. I know you can do it better than any other man at the bar."

"Are you in earnest, Tom?"

"Most solemnly. My whole future happiness--nay, perhaps the life of a
human being depends upon it."

"In that case I think I shall tip them an hour."

"Heaven reward you, Fred! I never can forget your kindness!"

"But where shall I see you afterwards?"

"At the hotel. Now, my dear boy, be sure that you pitch it in, and, if
possible, get the judge to charge after you. Time's all that's
wanted--adieu!" and Tom disappeared in a twinkling.

I had little leisure to turn over the meaning of this interview in my
mind, for the address of my learned opponent was very short and pithy.
He merely pointed out the clear facts, as substantiated by evidence, and
brought home to the unhappy M'Wilkin; and concluded by demanding a
verdict on both charges contained in the indictment against the

"Do you wish to say any thing, sir?" said the judge to me, with a kind
of tone which indicated his hope that I was going to say nothing.
Doubtless his lordship thought that, as a very young counsel, I would
take the hint; but he was considerably mistaken in his man. I came to
the bar for practice--I went on the circuit with the solemn
determination to speak in every case, however desperate; and it needed
not the admonition of Strachan to make me carry my purpose into
execution. What did I care about occupying the time of the court? His
lordship was paid to listen, and could very well afford to hear the man
who was pleading for M'Wilkin without a fee. I must say, however, that
he looked somewhat disgusted when I rose.

A first appearance is a nervous thing, but there is nothing like going
boldly at your subject. "_Fiat experimentum in corpore vili_," is a
capital maxim in the Justiciary Court. The worse your case, the less
chance you have to spoil it; and I never had a worse than M'Wilkin's.

I began by buttering the jury on their evident intelligence and the high
functions they had to discharge, which of course were magnified to the
skies. I then went slap-dash at the evidence; and, as I could say
nothing in favour of my client, directed a tremendous battery of abuse
and insinuation against his accuser.

"And who is this Gubbins, gentlemen, that you should believe this most
incredible, most atrocious, and most clumsy apocrypha of his? I will
tell you. He is an English butcher--a dealer in cattle and in
bestial--one of those men who derive their whole subsistence from the
profits realised by the sale of our native Scottish produce. This is the
way in which our hills are depopulated, and our glens converted into
solitudes. It is for him and his confederates--not for us--that our
shepherds watch and toil, that our herds and flocks are reared, that the
richness of the land is absorbed! And who speaks to the character of
this Gubbins? You have heard the pointless remarks made by my learned
friend upon the character of my unfortunate client; but he has not dared
to adduce in this court one single witness in behalf of the character of
his witness. Gentlemen, he durst not do it! Gubbins has deponed to you
that he bought those sheep at the fair of Kelso, from a person of the
name of Shiells, and that he paid the money for them. Where is the
evidence of that? Where is Shiells to tell us whether he actually sold
these sheep, or whether on the contrary they were not stolen from him?
Has it been proved to you, gentlemen, that M'Wilkin is not a friend of
Shiells--that he did not receive notice of the theft--that he did not
pursue the robber, and, recognising the stolen property by their mark,
seize them for the benefit of their owner? No such proof at least has
been led upon the part of the crown, and in the absence of it, I ask you
fearlessly, whether you can possibly violate your consciences by
returning a verdict of guilty? Is it not possible--nay, is it not
extremely probable, that Gubbins was the actual thief? Was it not his
interest, far more than M'Wilkin's, to abstract those poor unhappy
sheep, because it is avowedly his trade to fill the insatiable maw of
the Southron? And in that case, who should be at the bar? Gubbins!
Gubbins, I say, who this day has the unparalleled audacity to appear
before an enlightened Scottish jury, and to give evidence which, in
former times, might have led to the awful consequence of the execution
of an innocent man! And this is what my learned friend calls evidence!
Evidence to condemn a fellow-countryman, gentlemen? No--not to condemn a

Having thus summarily disposed of Gubbins, I turned my artillery against
the attendant drover and the policeman. The first I indignantly
denounced as either an accomplice or a tool: the second I smote more
severely. Policemen are not popular in Hawick; and, knowing this, I
contrived to blacken the Scottish Vidocq as a bloodhound.

But by far the finest flight of fancy in which I indulged was reserved
for the peroration. I was not quite sure of the effect of my commentary
on the evidence, and therefore thought it might be advisable to touch
upon a national raw.

"And now, gentlemen," said I, "assuming for one moment that all my
learned friend has said to you is true--that the sheep really belonged
to this Gubbins, and were taken from him by M'Wilkin--let us calmly and
deliberately consider how far such a proceeding can be construed into a
crime. What has my unfortunate client done that he should be condemned
by a jury of his countrymen? What he stands charged with is simply
this--that he has prevented an Englishman from driving away the produce
of our native hills. And is this a crime? It may be so, for aught I
know, by statute; but sure I am, that in the intention, to which alone
you must look, there lies a far deeper element of patriotism than of
deliberate guilt. Think for one moment, gentlemen, of the annals of
which we are so proud--of the ballads still chanted in the hall and in
the hamlet--of the lonely graves and headstones that are scattered all
along the surface of the southern muirs. Do not these annals tell us how
the princes and the nobles of the land were wont to think it neither
crime nor degradation to march with their retainers across the Borders,
and to harry with fire and sword the fields of Northumberland and
Durham? Randolph and the Bruce have done it, and yet no one dares to
attach the stigma of dishonour to their names. Do not our ballads tell
how at Lammas-tide,

     'The doughty Earl of Douglas rade
     Into England to fetch a prey?'

And who shall venture to impeach the honour of the hero who fell upon
the field of Otterbourne? Need I remind you of those who have died in
their country's cause, and whose graves are still made the object of
many a pious pilgrimage? Need I speak of Flodden, that woful place where
the Flowers of the Forest were left lying in one ghastly heap around
their king? Ah, gentlemen! have I touched you now? True, it was in the
Olden time that these things were done and celebrated; but remember
this, that society may change its place, states and empires may rise and
be consolidated, but patriotism still lives enduring and undying as of
yore! And who shall dare to say that patriotism was not the motive of
M'Wilkin? Who shall presume to analyse or to blame the instinct which
may have driven him to the deed? Call him not a felon--call him rather a
poet; for over his kindling imagination fell the mighty shadow of the
past. Old thoughts, old feelings, old impulses, were burning in his
soul. He saw in Gubbins, not the grazier, but the lawless spoiler of his
country; and he rose, as a Borderer should, to vindicate the honour of
his race. He may have been mistaken in what he did, but the motive, at
least, was pure. Honour it then, gentlemen, for it is the same motive
which is at all times the best safeguard of a nation's independence; and
do honour likewise to yourselves by pronouncing a unanimous verdict of
acquittal in favour of the prisoner at the bar!"

By the time I had finished this harangue, I was wrought up to such a
pitch of enthusiasm, that I really considered M'Wilkin in the light of
an extremely ill-used individual, and the tears stood in my eyes as I
recapitulated the history of his wrongs. Several of the jury, too, began
to get extremely excited, and looked as fierce as falcons when I
reminded them of the field of Flodden. But my hopes were considerably
damped when I heard the charge of his lordship. With all respect for the
eminent Senator who that day presided on the bench, I think he went
rather too far when he designated my maiden-effort a rhapsody which
could only be excused on account of the inexperience of the gentleman
who uttered it. Passing from that unpleasant style of stricture, he went
_seriatim_ over all the crimes of M'Wilkin, and very distinctly
indicated his opinion that a more consummate ruffian had seldom figured
in the dock. When he concluded, however, there was a good deal of
whispering in the jury-box, and at last the gentlemen of the assize
requested permission to retire.

"That was a fine flare-up of yours, Freddy," said Anthony Whaup, the
only other counsel for the prisoners upon the circuit. "You came it
rather strong, though, in the national line. I don't think our venerable
friend overhead half likes your ideas of international law."

"Why, yes--I confess he gave me a tolerable wigging. But what would you
have me do? I must have said something."

"Oh, by Jove, you were perfectly right! I always make a point of
speaking myself; and I can assure you that you did remarkably well. It
was a novel view, but decidedly ingenious, and may lead to great
results. If that fellow gets off, you may rely upon it there will be
some bloodshed again upon the Border."

"And a jolly calendar, of course, for next circuit. I say, Authony,--how
many cases have you got?"

"Two thefts with habit and repute, a hame-sucken, rather a good forgery,
and an assault with intent to commit."


"Rather--but poor pay. I haven't sacked more than nine guineas
altogether. Gad!" continued Anthony, stretching himself, "this is slow
work. I'd rather by a great deal be rowing on the canal."

"Hush! here come the jury."

They entered, took their seats, and each man in succession answered to
his name. I stole a glance at M'Wilkin. He looked as leonine as ever,
and kept winking perseveringly to the Hawickers.

"Now, gentlemen," said the clerk of court, "what is your verdict?"

The foreman rose.

"The jury, by a majority, find the charges against the prisoner NOT

"Hurrah!" shouted M'Wilkin, reckless of all authority. "Hurrah! I
say--you counsellor in the wig--ye shanna want a sheep's head thae three
years, if there's ane to be had on the Border!"

And in this way I gained my first acquittal.


I found Strachan in his room with his face buried in the bed-clothes. He
was kicking his legs as though he suffered under a violent fit of the

"I say, Tom, what's the matter? Look up, man! Do you know I've got that
scoundrel off?"

No answer.

"Tom, I say! Tom, you dunderhead--what do you mean by making an ass of
yourself this way? Get up, for shame, and answer me!"

Poor Strachan raised his head from the coverlet. His eyes were
absolutely pink, and his cheeks of the tint of a lemon.

"O Fred, Fred!" said he with a series of interjectional gasps. "I am the
most unfortunate wretch in the universe. All the hopes I had formerly
cherished are blighted at once in the bud! She is gone, my friend--gone
away from me, and, alas! I fear for ever!

"The deuce she has! and how?"

"Oh what madness tempted me to lead her to the court?--what infatuation
it was to expose those angelic features to the risk of recognition! Who
that ever saw those dove-like eyes could forget them?"

"I have no objection to the eyes--they were really very passable. But
who twigged her?"

"An emissary of her father's--that odious miscreant who was giving
evidence at the trial."

"The policeman? Whew! Tom!--I don't like that."

"He was formerly the land-steward of the Viscount;--a callous, cruel
wretch, who was more than suspected of having made away with his wife."

"And did he recognise her?"

"Dorothea says that she felt fascinated by the glitter of his cold gray
eye. A shuddering sensation passed through her frame, just as the poor
warbler of the woods quivers at the approach of the rattle-snake. A dark
mist gathered before her sight, and she saw no more until she awoke to
consciousness within my arms."

"Very pretty work, truly! And what then?"

"In great agitation, she told me that she durst tarry no longer here.
She was certain that the officer would make it his business to track
her, and communicate her hiding-place to her family; and she shook with
horror when she thought of the odious Israelitish bridegroom. 'The
caverns of the deep green sea--the high Tarpeian rock--the Lencadian
cliff of Sappho,'--she said, 'all would be preferable to that! And yet,
O Thomas, to think that we should have met so suddenly, and that to part
for ever!' 'Pon my soul, Fred, I am the most miserable of created

"Why, what on earth has become of her?"

"Gone--and I don't know whither. She would not even apprise the Bailie
of her departure, lest she might leave some clue for discovery. She
desired me to see him, to thank him, and to pay him for her,--all of
which I promised to do. With one kiss--one deep, burning, agonised kiss,
which I shall carry with me to my grave--- she tore herself away, sprang
into the postchaise, and in another moment was lost to me for ever!"

"And my ten pounds?" said I, in a tone of considerable emotion.

"Would you have had me think twice," asked Strachan indignantly, "before
I tendered my assistance to a forlorn angel in distress, even though she
possessed no deeper claims on my sympathy? I thought, Frederick, you had
more chivalry in your nature. You need not be uneasy about that
trifle;--I shall be in funds some time about Christmas."

"Humph! I thought it was a P.P. transaction, but no matter. And is this
all the clue you have got to the future residence of the lady?"

"No,--she is to write me from the nearest post-town. You will see, Fred,
when the letter arrives, how well worthy she is of my adoration."

I have found, by long experience, that it is no use remonstrating with a
man who is head-over-ears in love. The tender passion affects us
differently, according to our constitutions. One set of fellows, who are
generally the pleasantest, seldom get beyond the length of flirtation.
They are always at it, but constantly changing, and therefore manage to
get through a tolerable catalogue of attachments before they are finally
brought to book. Such men are quite able to take care of themselves, and
require but little admonition. You no doubt hear them now and then
abused for trifling with the affections of young women--as if the latter
had themselves the slightest remorse in playing precisely the same
game!--but in most cases such censure is undeserved, for they are quite
as much in earnest as their neighbours, so long as the impulse lasts.
The true explanation is, that they have survived their first passion,
and that their faith is somewhat shaken in the boyish creed of the
absolute perfectibility of woman. The great disappointment of life does
not make them misanthropes--but it forces them to caution, and to a
closer appreciation of character than is usually undertaken in the first
instance. They have become, perhaps, more selfish--certainly more
suspicious, and though often on the verge of a proposal, they never
commit themselves without an extreme degree of deliberation.

Another set seem designed by nature to be the absolute victims of woman.
Whenever they fall in love, they do it with an earnestness and an
obstinacy which is actually appalling. The adored object of their
affections can twine them round her finger, quarrel with them, cheat
them, caricature them, or flirt with others, without the least risk of
severing the triple cord of attachment. They become as tame as
poodle-dogs, will submit patiently to any manner of cruelty or caprice,
and in fact seem rather to be grateful for such treatment than
otherwise. Clever women usually contrive to secure a captive of this
kind. He is useful to them in a hundred ways, never interferes with
their schemes, and, if the worst comes to the worst, they can always
fall back upon him as a _pis-aller_.

My friend Tom Strachan belonged decidedly to this latter section. Mary
Rivers, a remarkably clever and very showy girl, but as arrant a flirt
as ever wore rosebud in her bosom, had engrossed the whole of his heart
before he reached the reflecting age of twenty, and kept him for nearly
five years in a state of uncomplaining bondage. Not that I believe she
ever cared about him. Tom was as poor as a church-mouse, and had nothing
on earth to look to except the fruits of his professional industry,
which, judging from all appearances, would be a long time indeed in
ripening. Mary was not the sort of person to put up with love in a
cottage, even had Tom's circumstances been adequate to defray the rent
of a tenement of that description: she had a vivid appreciation not only
of the substantials, but of the higher luxuries of existence. But her
vanity was flattered at having in her train at least one devoted
dangler, whom she could play off, whenever opportunity required, against
some more valuable admirer. Besides, Strachan was a man of family, tall,
good-looking, and unquestionably clever in his way: he also danced the
polka well, and was useful in the ball-room or the pic-nic. So Mary
Rivers kept him on in a kind of blissful dream, just sunning him
sufficiently with her smiles to make him believe that he was beloved,
but never allowing matters to go so far as to lead to the report that
they were engaged. Tom asked for nothing more. He was quite contented to
indulge for years in a dream of future bliss, and wrote during the
interval a great many more sonnets than summonses. Unfortunately sonnets
don't pay well, so that his worldly affairs did not progress at any
remarkable ratio. And he only awoke to a sense of his real situation,
when Miss Rivers, having picked a quarrel with him one day in the
Zoological Gardens, announced on the next to her friends that she had
accepted the hand of a bilious East India merchant.

Tom made an awful row about it--grew as attenuated and brown as an
eel--and garnished his conversation with several significant hints about
suicide. He was, however, saved from that ghastly alternative by being
drafted into a Rowing Club, who plied their gondolas daily on the Union
Canal. Hard exercise, beer, and pulling had their usual sanatory effect,
and Tom gradually recovered his health, if not his spirits.

It was at this very crisis that he fell in with this mysterious Miss
Percy. There was an immense hole in his affections which required to be
filled up; and, as nature abhors a vacuum, he plugged it with the image
of Dorothea. The flight, therefore, of the fair levanter, after so brief
an intercourse, was quite enough to upset him. He was in the situation
of a man who is informed over-night that he has succeeded to a large
fortune, and who gets a letter next morning explaining that it is a mere
mistake. I was therefore not at all astonished either at his paroxysms
or his credulity.

We had rather a dreary dinner that day. The judges always entertain the
first day of circuit, and it is considered matter of etiquette that the
counsel should attend. Sometimes these forensic feeds are pleasant
enough; but on the present occasion there was a visible damp thrown over
the spirits of the party. His lordship was evidently savage at the
unforeseen escape of M'Wilkin, and looked upon me, as I thought, with
somewhat of a prejudiced eye. Bailie Beeric and the other magistrates
seemed uneasy at their unusual proximity to a personage who had the
power of death and transportation, and therefore abstained from emitting
the accustomed torrent of civic facetiousness. One of the sheriffs
wanted to be off on a cruise, and another was unwell with the gout. The
Depute Advocate was fagged; Whaup surly as a bear with a sore ear, on
account of the tenuity of his fees; and Strachan, of course, in an
extremely unconversational mood. So I had nothing for it but to eat and
drink as plentifully as I could, and very thankful I was that the claret
was tolerably sound.

We rose from table early. As I did not like to leave Tom to himself in
his present state of mind, we adjourned to his room for the purpose of
enjoying a cigar; and there, sure enough, upon the table lay the
expected missive. Strachan dashed at it like a pike pouncing upon a
parr; I lay down upon the sofa, lit my weed, and amused myself by
watching his physiognomy.

"Dear suffering angel!" said Tom at last, with a sort of whimper,
"Destiny has done its worst! We have parted, and the first fond dream of
our love has vanished before the cold and dreary dawn of reality! O my
friend--we were like the two birds in the Oriental fable, each doomed to
traverse the world before we could encounter our mate--we met, and
almost in the same hour the thunderbolt burst above us!"

"Yes--two very nice birds," said I. "But what does she say in the

"You may read it," replied Tom, and he handed me the epistle. It was
rather a superior specimen of penmanship, and I don't choose to
criticise the style. Its tenor was as follows:--

    "I am hardly yet, my dear friend, capable of estimating the true
    extent of my emotions. Like the buoyant seaweed torn from its native
    bed among the submarine forest of the corals, I have been tossed
    from wave to wave, hurried onwards by a stream more resistless than
    that which sweeps through the Gulf of Labrador, and far--far away as
    yet is the wished-for haven of my rest. Hitherto my life has been a
    tissue of calamity and wo. Over my head since childhood, has
    stretched a dull and dreary canopy of clouds, shutting me out for
    ever from a glimpse of the blessed sun. Once, and but once only have
    I seen a chasm in that envious veil--only once and for a few, a
    _very_ few moments, have I gazed upon the blue empyrean, and felt my
    heart expand and thrill to the glories of its liquid lustre. That
    once--oh, Mr Strachan, can I ever forget it?--that once comprises
    the era of the few hours which were the silent witnesses of our

    "Am I weak in writing to you thus? Perhaps I am; but then, Thomas, I
    have never been taught to dissemble. Did I, however, think it
    probable that we should ever meet again--that I should hear from
    your lips a repetition of that language which now is chronicled in
    my soul--it may be that I would not have dared to risk an avowal so
    candid and so dear! As it is, it matters not. You have been my
    benefactor, my kind consoler--my friend. You have told me that you
    love; and in the fullness and native simplicity of my heart, I
    believe you. And if it be any satisfaction to you to know that your
    sentiments have been at least appreciated, believe that of all the
    pangs which the poor Dorothea has suffered, this last agony of
    parting has been incomparably the most severe.

    "You asked me if there was no hope. Oh, my Thomas! what would I not
    give could I venture to answer, yes? But it cannot be! You are young
    and happy, and will yet be fortunate and beloved: why, then, should
    I permit so fair an existence to be blighted by the upas-tree of
    destiny under which I am doomed to languish? You shall not say that
    I am selfish--you shall not hereafter reproach me for having
    permitted you to share a burden too great for both of us to carry.
    You must learn the one great lesson of existence, to submit and to

    "I am going far away, to the margin of that inhospitable shore which
    receives upon its rocks the billows of the unbroken Atlantic,--or
    haply, amongst the remoter isles, I shall listen to the seamew's
    cry. Do not weep for me. Amidst the myriad of bright and glowing
    things which flutter over the surface of this green creation, let
    one feeble, choking, over-burdened heart be forgotten! Follow me
    not--seek me not--for, like the mermaid on the approach of the
    mariner, I should shrink from the face of man into the glassy
    caverns of the deep.

    "Adieu, Thomas, adieu! Say what you will for me to the noble and
    generous Beerie. Would to heaven that I could send him some token in
    return for all his kindness, but a good and gallant heart is its own
    most adequate reward.

    "They are putting to the horses--I can hear the rumble of the
    chariot! Oh, once more, dear friend--alas, too inexpressibly
    dear!--take my last farewell. Adieu--my heart is breaking as I write
    the bitter word!--forget me.


"Do you wonder at my sorrow now?" said Strachan, as I laid down the
passionate epistle.

"Why, no. It is well got up upon the whole, and does credit to the
lady's erudition. But I don't see why she should insist so strongly upon
eternal separation. Have you no idea whereabouts that aunt of hers may
happen to reside?"

"Not the slightest."

"Because, judging from her letter, it must be somewhere about Benbecula
or Tiree. I shouldn't even wonder if she had a summer box on St Kilda."

"Right! I did not think of that--you observe she speaks of the remoter

"To be sure, and for half a century there has not been a mermaid seen to
the east of the Lewis. Now, take my advice, Tom--don't make a fool of
yourself in the meantime, but wait until the Court of Session rises in
July. That will allow plenty of time for matters to settle; and if the
old Viscount and that abominable Abiram don't find her out before then,
you may depend upon it they will abandon the search. In the interim, the
lady will have cooled. Walks upon the sea-shore are uncommonly dull
without something like reciprocal sentimentality. The odds are, that the
old aunt is addicted to snuff, tracts, and the distribution of flannel,
and before August, the fair Dorothea will be yearning for a sight of her
adorer. You can easily gammon Anthony Whaup into a loan of that yacht of
his which he makes such a boast of; and if you go prudently about it,
and flatter him on the score of his steering, I haven't the least doubt
that he will victual his hooker and give you a cruise in it for

"Admirable, my dear Fred! We shall touch at all the isles from Iona to
Uist; and if Miss Percy be indeed there--"

"You can carry her off on five minutes' notice, and our long friend will
be abundantly delighted. Only, mind this! If you want my candid opinion
on the wisdom of such an alliance, I should strongly recommend you to
meddle no farther in the matter, for I have my doubts about the
Honourable Dorothea, and--"

"Bah, Fred! Doubts after such a letter as that? Impossible! No, my dear
friend--your scheme is admirable--unexceptionable, and I shall certainly
act upon it. But oh--it is a weary time till July!"

"Merely a short interval of green pease and strawberries. I advise you,
however, to fix down Whaup as early as you can for the cruise."

The hint was rapidly taken. We sent for our facetious friend, ordered
supper, and in the course of a couple of tumblers, persuaded him that
his knowledge of nautical affairs was not exceeded by that of T. P.
Cooke, and that he was much deeper versed in the mysteries of
sky-scraping than Fenimore Cooper. Whaup gave in. By dint of a little
extra persuasion, I believe we might have coaxed him into a voyage for
Otaheite; and before we parted for the evening it was agreed that
Strachan should hold himself in readiness to start for the Western
Islands about the latter end of July--Whaup being responsible for the
provisions and champagne, whilst Tom pledged himself to cigars.


I never ascertained the exact amount of the sum which Tom handed over to
the Bailie. It must, however, have been considerable, for he took to
retrenching his expenditure, and never once dropped a hint about the ten
pounds which I was so singularly verdant as to lend him. The summer
session stole away as quickly as its predecessors, though not, in so far
as I was concerned, quite as unprofitably, for I got a couple of
Sheriff-court papers to draw in consequence of my M'Wilkin appearance.
Tom, however, was very low about himself, and affected solitude. He
would not join in any of the strawberry lunches or fish dinners so
attractive to the junior members of the bar; but frequented the
Botanical Gardens, where he might be seen any fine afternoon, stretched
upon the bank beside the pond, concocting sonnets, or inscribing the
name of Dorothea upon the monument dedicated to Linnaeus.

Time, however, stole on. The last man who was going to be married got
his valedictory dinner at the close of session. Gowns were thrown off,
wigs boxed up, and we all dispersed to the country wheresoever our
inclination might lead us. I resolved to devote the earlier part of the
vacation to the discovery of the town of Clackmannan--a place of which I
had often heard, but which no human being whom I ever encountered had
seen. Whaup was not oblivious of his promise, and Strachan clove unto
him like a limpet.

We did not meet again until September was well-nigh over. In common with
Strachan, I had adopted the resolution of changing my circuit, and
henceforth adhering to Glasgow, which, from its superior supply of
criminals, is the favourite resort of our young forensic aspirants. So I
packed my portmanteau, invoked the assistance of Saint Rollox, and
started for the balmy west.

The first man I met in George's Square was my own delightful Thomas. He
looked rather thin; was fearfully sun-burned; had on a pair of canvass
trowsers most wofully bespattered with tar, and evidently had not shaved
for a fortnight.

"Why, Tom, my dear fellow!" cried I, "can this possibly be you? What the
deuce have you been doing with yourself? You look as hairy as Robinson

"You should see Whaup,--he's rather worse off than Friday. We have just
landed at the Broomielaw, but I was obliged to leave Anthony in a tavern
for fear we should be mobbed in the street. I'm off by the rail to
Edinburgh, to get some decent toggery for us both. Lend me a pound-note,
will you?"

"Certainly--that's eleven, you recollect. But what's the meaning of all
this? Where is the yacht?"

"Safe--under twenty fathoms of dark blue water, at a place they call the
Sneeshanish Islands. Catch me going out again, with Anthony as

"No doubt he is an odd sort of Palinurus. But when did this happen?"

"Ten days ago. We were three days and nights upon the rock, with nothing
to eat except two biscuits, raw mussels and tangle!"

"Mercy on us! and how did you get off?"

"In a kelp-boat from Harris. But I haven't time for explanation just
now. Go down, like a good fellow, to the Broomielaw, No. 431--you will
find Anthony enjoying himself with beef steaks and bottled stout, in the
back parlour of the Cat and Bagpipes. I must refer you to him for the

"One word more--you'll be back to the circuit?"

"Decidedly. To-morrow morning: as soon as I can get my things together."

"And the lady--What news of her?"

The countenance of Strachan fell.

"Ah, my dear friend! I wish you had not touched upon that string--you
have set my whole frame a jarring. No trace of her--none--none! I fear I
shall never see her more!"

"Come! don't be down-hearted. One never can tell what may happen.
Perhaps you may meet her sooner than you think."

"You are a kind-hearted-fellow, Fred. But I've lost all hope. Nothing
but a dreary existence is now before me, and--but, by Jupiter, there
goes the starting bell!"

Tom vanished, like Aubrey's apparition, with a melodious twang, and a
perceptible odour of tar; and so, being determined to expiscate the
matter, I proceeded towards the Broomielaw, and in due time became
master of the locality of the Cat and Bagpipes.

"Is there a Mr Whaup here?" I inquired of Mrs M'Tavish, the landlady,
who was filling a gill-stoup at the bar.

"Here you are, old chap!" cried the hilarious voice of Anthony from an
inner apartment. "Turn to the right, steer clear of the scrubbing
brushes, and help yourself to a mouthful of Guinness."

I obeyed. Heavens, what a figure he was! His trowsers were rent both at
the knees and elsewhere, and were kept together solely by means of
whip-cord. His shirt had evidently not benefited by the removal of the
excise duties upon soap, and was screened from the scrutiny of the
beholder by an extempore paletot, fabricated out of sail-cloth, without
the remotest apology for sleeves.

Anthony, however, looked well in health, and appeared to be in
tremendous spirits.

"Tip us your fin, my old coxs'un!" said he, winking at me over the rim
of an enormous pewter vessel which effectually eclipsed the lower
segment of his visage. "Blessed if I ain't as glad to see you as one of
Mother Carey's chickens in a squall."

"Come, Anthony! leave off your nautical nonsense, and talk like a man of
the world. What on earth have you and Tom Strachan, been after?"

"Nothing on earth, but a good deal on sea, and a trifle on as
uncomfortable a section of basalt as ever served two unhappy buccaniers
for bed, table, and sofa. The chilliness is not off me yet."

"But how did it happen?"

"Very simply: but I'll tell you all about it. It's a long story, though,
so if you please I shall top off with something hot. I'm glad you've
come, however, for I had some doubts how far this sort of original
Petersham would inspire confidence as to my credit in the bosom of the
fair M'Tavish. It's all right now, however, so here goes for my yarn."

But I shall not follow my friend through all the windings of his
discourse, varied though it certainly was, like the adventures of the
venerated Sinbad. Suffice it to say, that they were hardly out of sight
of the Cumbraes before Tom confided the whole tale of his sorrows to
the callous Anthony, who, as he expressed it, had come out for a lark,
and had no idea of the of rummaging the whole of the west coast and the
adjacent islands for a petticoat. Moved, however, by the pathetic
entreaties of Strachan, and, perhaps, somewhat reconciled to the quest
by the dim vision of an elopement, Anthony magnanimously waived his
objections, and the two kept cruising together, in a little shell of a
yacht, all round the western Archipelago. Besides themselves, there were
only a man and a boy on board.

"It was slow work," said Anthony,--"deucedly slow. I would not have
minded the thing so much if Strachan had been reasonably sociable; but
it was rather irksome, you will allow, when, after the boy had brought
in the kettle, and we had made every thing snug for the night, Master
Strachan began to maunder about the lady's eyes, and to tear his hair,
and to call himself the most miserable dog in existence. I had serious
thoughts, at one time, of leaving him ashore on Mull or Skye, and making
off direct to the Orkneys; but good-nature was always my foible, so I
went on, beating from one place to another, as though we had been
looking for the wreck of the Florida.

"I'll never take another cruise with a lover so long as I live. Tom led
me all manner of dances, and we were twice fired at from farm-houses
where he was caterwauling beneath the windows with a guitar. It seems he
had heard that flame of his sing a Spanish air at Jedburgh. Tom must
needs pick it up, and you have no idea how he pestered me. Go where we
would, he kept harping on that abominable ditty, in the hopes that his
mistress might hear him; and, when I remonstrated on the absurdity of
the proceeding, he quoted the case of Blondel, and some trash out of
Uhland's ballads. Serenading on the west coast is by no means a pleasant
pastime. The nights are as raw as an anchovy, and the midges
particularly plentiful.

"Well, sir, we could find no trace of the lady after all. Strachan got
into low spirits, and I confess that I was sometimes sulky--so we had an
occasional blow up, which by no means added to the conviviality of the
voyage. One evening, just at sundown, we entered the Sound of
Sneeshanish--an ugly place, let me tell you, at the best, but especially
to be avoided in any thing like a gale of wind. The clouds in the
horizon looked particularly threatening, and I got a little anxious, for
I knew that there were rocks about, and not a light-house in the whole
of the district.

"In an hour or two it grew as dark as a wolf's throat. I could not for
the life of me make out where we were, for the Sound is very narrow in
some parts, and occasionally I thought that I could hear breakers ahead.

"'Tom,' said I, 'Tom, you lubber!'--for our esteemed friend was, as
usual, lying on the deck, with a cigar in his mouth, twangling at that
eternal guitar--'take hold of the helm, will you, for a minute, while I
go down and look at the chart.'

"I was as cold as a cucumber; so, after having ascertained, as I best
could, the bearings about the Sound, I rather think I _did_ stop below
for one moment--but not longer--just to mix a glass of swizzle by way of
fortification, for I didn't expect to get to bed that night. All of a
sudden I heard a shout from the bows, bolted upon deck, and there, sure
enough, was a black object right ahead, with the surf shooting over it.

"'Luff, Tom! or we are all dead men;--Luff, I say!' shouted I. I might
as well have called to a millstone. Tom was in a kind of trance.

"'O Dorothea!' said our friend.

"'To the devil with Dorothea!' roared I, snatching the tiller from his

"It was too late. We went smash upon the rock, with a force that sent us
headlong upon the deck, and Strachan staggered to his feet, bleeding
profusely at the proboscis.

"Down came the sail rattling about our ears, and over lurched the yacht.
I saw there was no time to lose, so I leaped at once upon the rock, and
called upon the rest to follow me. They did so, and were lucky to escape
with no more disaster than a ruffling of the cuticle on the basalt; for
in two minutes more all was over. Some of the timbers had been staved in
at the first concussion. She rapidly filled,--and down went, before my
eyes, the Caption the tidiest little craft that ever pitched her
broadside into the hull of a Frenchman!"

"Very well told indeed," said I, "only, Anthony, it does strike me that
the last paragraph is not quite original. I've heard something like it
in my younger days, at the Adelphi. But what became of you afterwards?"

"Faith, we were in a fix, as you may easily conceive. All we could do
was to scramble up the rocks,--which, fortunately, were not too
precipitous,--until we reached a dry place, where we lay, huddled
together, until morning. When light came, we found that we were not on
the main land, but on a kind of little stack in the very centre of the
channel, without a blade of grass upon it, or the prospect of a sail in
sight. This was a nice situation for two members of the Scottish bar!
The first thing we did was to inquire into the state of provisions,
which found to consist of a couple of biscuits, that little Jim, the
boy, happened to have about him. Of course we followed the example of
the earlier navigators, and confiscated these _pro bono publico_. We had
not a drop of alcohol among us, but, very luckily, picked up a small keg
of fresh water, which, I believe, was our salvation. Strachan did not
behave well. He wanted to keep half-a-dozen cigars to himself; but such
monstrous selfishness could not be permitted, and the rest of us took
them from him by force. I shall always blame myself for having weakly
restored to him a cheroot."

"And what followed?"

"Why, we remained three days upon the rock. Fortunately the weather was
moderate, so that we were not absolutely washed away, but for all that
it was consumedly cold of nights. The worst thing, however, was the
deplorable state of our larder. We finished the biscuits the first day,
trusting to be speedily relieved; but the sun set without a vestige of a
sail, and we supped sparingly upon tangle. Next morning we were so
ravenous that we could have eaten raw squirrels. That day we subsisted
entirely upon shell-fish, and smoked all our cigars. On the third we
bolted two old gloves, buttons and all; and, do you know, Fred, I began
to be seriously alarmed about the boy Jim, for Strachan kept eying him
like an ogre, began to mutter some horrid suggestions as to the
propriety of casting lots, and execrated his own stupidity in being
unprovided with a jar of pickles."

"O Anthony--for shame!"

"Well--I'm sure he was thinking about it, if he did not say so. However,
we lunched upon a shoe, and for my own part, whenever I go upon another
voyage, I shall take the precaution of providing myself with pliable
French boots--your Kilmarnock leather is so very intolerably tough!
Towards evening, to our infinite joy, we descried a boat entering the
Sound. We shouted, as you may be sure, like demons. The Celtic
Samaritans came up, and, thanks to the kindness of Rory M'Gregor the
master, we each of us went to sleep that night with at least two gallons
of oatmeal porridge comfortably stowed beneath our belts. And that's the
whole history."

"And how do you feel after such unexampled privation?"

"Not a hair the worse. But this I know, that if ever I am caught again
on such idiotical errand as hunting for a young woman through the
Highlands, my nearest of kin are at perfect liberty to have me cognosced
without opposition."

"Ah--you are no lover, Anthony. Strachan, now, would go barefooted
through Stony Arabia, for the mere chance of a casual glimpse at his

"All I can say, my dear fellow, is, that if connubial happiness cannot
be purchased without a month's twangling on a guitar and three
consecutive suppers upon sea-weed, I know at least one respectable young
barrister who is likely to die unmarried. But I say, Fred, let us have a
coach and drive up to your hotel. You can lend me a coat, I suppose, or
something of the sort, until Strachan arrives; and just be good enough,
will you, to settle with Mrs M'Tavish for the bill, for, by all my hopes
of a sheriffship, I have been thoroughly purged of my tin."

The matter may not be of any especial interest to the public; at the
same time I think it right to record the fact that Anthony Whaup owes me
seven shillings and eightpence unto this day.

"That is all I can tell you about it," said Mr Hedger, as he handed me
the last of three indictments, with the joyful accompaniment of the
fees. "That is all I can tell you about it. If the _alibi_ will hold
water, good and well--if not, M'Closkie will be transported."

Hedger is the very best criminal agent I ever met with. There is always
a point in his cases--his precognitions are perfect, and pleading, under
such auspices, becomes a kind of realised romance.

"By the way," said he, "is there a Mr Strachan of your bar at circuit? I
have a curious communication from a prisoner who is desirous to have him
as her counsel."

"Indeed? I am glad to hear it. Mr Strachan is a particular friend of
mine, and will be here immediately. I shall be glad to introduce you. Is
it a heavy case?"

"No, but rather an odd one--a theft of money committed at the Blenheim
hotel. The woman seems a person of education, but, as she obstinately
refuses to tell me her story, I know very little more about it than is
contained in the face of the indictment."

"What is her name?"

"Why you know that is a matter not very easily ascertained. She called
herself Euphemia Saville when brought up for examination, and of course
she will be tried as such. She is well dressed, and rather pretty, but
she won't have any other counsel than Mr Strachan; and singularly
enough, she has positively forbidden me to send him a fee on the ground
that he would take it as an insult."

"I should feel particularly obliged if the whole public would take to
insulting me perpetually in that manner! But really this is an odd
history. Do you think she is acquainted with my friend?"

Hedger winked.

"I can't say," said he "for, to tell you the truth, I know nothing
earthly about it. Only she was so extremely desirous to have him
engaged, that I thought it not a little remarkable. I hope your friend
won't take offence if I mention what the woman said?"

"Not in the least, you may be sure of that. And, _apropos_, here he

And in effect Whaup and Strachan now walked into the counsel's
apartment, demure, shaven, and well dressed--altogether two very
different looking individuals from the tatterdemalions of yesterday.

"Good morning, Fred," cried Whaup; "Servant, Mr Hedger--lots of work
going, eh? Are the pleas nearly over yet?"

"Very nearly, I believe, Mr Whaup. Would you have the kindness to----"

"Oh, certainly," said I. "Strachan, allow me to introduce my friend Mr
Hedger, who is desirous of your professional advice."

"I say, Freddy," said Whaup, looking sulkily at the twain as they
retired to a window to consult, "what's in the wind now? Has old Hedger
got a spite at any of his clients?"

"How should I know? What do you mean?"

"Because I should rather think," said Anthony, "that in our friend
Strachan's hands the lad runs a remarkably good chance of a sea voyage
to the colonies, that's all."

"Fie for shame, Anthony! You should not bear malice."

"No more I do--but I can't forget the loss of the little Caption all
through his stupid blundering; and this morning he must needs sleep so
long that he lost the early train, and has very likely cut me out of
business for the sheer want of a pair of reputable trousers."

"Never mind--there is a good time coming."

"Which means, I suppose, that you have got the pick of the cases? Very
well: it can't be helped, so I shall even show myself in court by way of
public advertisement."

So saying, my long friend wrestled himself into his gown, adjusted his
wig knowingly upon his cranium, and rushed toward the court-room as
vehemently as though the weal of the whole criminal population of the
west depended upon his individual exertions.

"Freddy, come here, if you please," said Strachan, "this is a very
extraordinary circumstance! Do you know that this woman, Euphemia
Saville, though she wishes me to act as her counsel, has positively
refused to see me!"

"Very odd, certainly! Do you know her?"

"I never heard of the name in my life. Are you sure, Mr Hedger, that
there is no mistake?"

"Quite sure, sir. She gave me, in fact, a minute description of your
person, which perhaps I may be excused from repeating."

"Oh, I understand," said Tom, fishingly; "complimentary, I suppose--eh?"

"Why yes, rather so," replied Hedger hesitatingly; and he cast at the
same time a glance at the limbs of my beloved friend, which convinced me
that Miss Saville's communication had, somehow or other, borne reference
to the shape of a parenthesis. "But, at all events, you may be sure she
has seen you. I really can imagine no reason for an interview. We often
have people who take the same kind of whims, and you have no idea of
their obstinacy. The best way will be to let the Crown lead its
evidence, and trust entirely to cross-examination. I shall take care, at
all events, that her appearance shall not damage her. She is well
dressed, and I don't doubt will make use of her cambric handkerchief."

"And a very useful thing that same cambric is," observed I. "Come, Tom,
my boy, pluck up courage! You have opportunity now for a grand display;
and if you can poke in something about chivalry and undefended
loveliness, you may be sure it will have an effect on the jury. There is
a strong spice of romance in the composition of the men of the Middle

"The whole thing, however, seems to me most mysterious."

"Very; but that is surely an additional charm. We seldom find a chapter
from the Mysteries of Udolfo transferred to the records of the
Justiciary Court of Scotland."

"Well, then, I suppose it must be so. Fred, will you sit beside me at
the trial? I'm not used to this sort of thing as yet, and I possibly may
feel nervous."

"Not a bit of you. At any rate I shall be there, and of course you may
command me."

In due time the cause was called. Miss Euphemia Saville ascended the
trap stair, and took her seat between a pair of policemen with
exceedingly luxuriant whiskers.

I must allow that I felt a strong curiosity about Euphemia. Her name was
peculiar; the circumstances under which she came forward were unusual;
and her predilection for Strachan was tantalising. Her appearance,
however, did little to solve the mystery. She was neatly, even elegantly
dressed in black, with a close-fitting bonnet and thick veil, which at
first effectually obscured her countenance. This, indeed, she partially
removed when called upon to plead to the indictment; but the law of no
civilised coountry that I know of is so savage as to prohibit the use of
a handkerchief, and the fair Saville availed herself of the privilege by
burying her countenance in cambric. I could only get a glimpse Of some
beautiful black braided hair and a forehead that resembled alabaster. To
all appearance she was extremely agitated, and sobbed as she answered to
the charge.

The tender-hearted Strachan was not the sort of man to behold the
sorrows of his client without emotion. In behalf of the junior members
of the Scottish bar I will say this, that they invariably fight tooth
and nail when a pretty girl is concerned, and I have frequently heard
bursts of impassioned eloquence poured forth in defence of a pair of
bright eyes or a piquant figure, in cases where an elderly or wizened
dame would have run a strong chance of finding no Cicero by her side.
Tom accordingly approached the bar for the purpose of putting some
questions to his client, but not a word could he extract in reply.
Euphemia drew down her veil, and waved her hand with a repulsive

"I don't know what to make of her," said Strachan; "only she seems to be
a monstrous fine woman. It is clear, however, that she has mistaken me
for somebody else. I never saw her in my life before."

"Hedger deserves great credit for the way he has got her up. Observe,
Tom, there is no finery about her; no ribbons or gaudy scarfs, which are
as unsuitable at a trial as at a funeral. Black is your only wear to
find favour in the eyes of a jury."

"True. It is a pity that so little attention is paid to the aesthetics of
criminal clothing. But here comes the first witness--Grobey I think they
call him--the fellow who lost the money."

Mr Grobey mounted the witness-box like a cow ascending a staircase. He
was a huge, elephantine animal of some sixteen stone, with bushy
eyebrows and a bald pate, which he ever and anon affectionately caressed
with a red and yellow bandana. Strachan started at the sound of his
voice, surveyed him wistfully for a moment, and then said to me in a
hurried whisper--

"As I live, Fred, that is the identical bagman who boned my emerald
studs at Jedburgh!"

"You don't mean to say it?"

"Fact, upon my honour! There is no mistaking his globular freetrading
nose. Would it not be possible to object to his evidence on that

"Mercy on us! no.--Reflect--there is no conviction."

"True. But he stole them nevertheless. I'll ask him about them when I

Mr Grobey's narrative, however, as embraced in animated dialogue with
the public prosecutor, threw some new and unexpected light upon the
matter. Grobey was a traveller in the employment of the noted house of
Barnacles, Deadeye, and Company, and perambulated the country for the
benevolent purpose of administering to deficiency of vision. In the
course of his wanderings, he had arrived at the Blenheim, where, after a
light supper of fresh herrings, toasted cheese, and Edinburgh ale,
assisted, _more Bagmannorum_, by several glasses of stiff brandy and
water, he had retired to his apartment to sleep off the labours of the
day. Somnus, however, did not descend that night with his usual
lightness upon Grobey. On the contrary, the deity seemed changed into a
ponderous weight, which lay heavily upon the chest of the moaning and
suffocated traveller; and notwithstanding a paralysis which appeared to
have seized upon his limbs, every external object in the apartment
became visible to him as by the light of a magic lantern. He heard his
watch ticking, like a living creature, upon the dressing-table where he
had left it. His black morocco pocketbook was distinctly visible, beside
the looking-glass, and two spectral boots stood up amidst the varied
shadows of the night. Grobey was very uncomfortable. He began to
entertain the horrid idea that a fiend was hovering, through his

All at once he heard the door creaking upon its hinges. There was a
slight rustling of muslin, a low sigh, and then momentary silence.
"What, in the name of John Bright, can that be?" thought the terrified
traveller; but he had not to wait long for explanation. The door opened
slowly--a female figure, arrayed from head to foot in robes of virgin
whiteness, glided in, and fixed her eyes, with an expression of deep
solemnity and menace, upon the countenance of Grobey. He lay breathless
and motionless beneath the spell. This might have lasted for about a
minute, during which time, as Grobey expressed it, his very entrails
were convulsed with fear. The apparition then moved onwards, still
keeping her eyes upon the couch. She stood for a moment near the window,
raised her arm with a monitory gesture to the sky, and then all at once
seemed to disappear as it absorbed in the watery moonshine. Grobey was
as bold a bagman as ever flanked a mare with his gig-whip, but this
awful visitation was too much. Boots, looking-glass, and table swam with
a distracting whirl before his eyes; he uttered a feeble yell, and
immediately lapsed into a swoon.

It was bright morning when he awoke. He started up, rubbed his eyes, and
endeavoured to persuade himself that it was all an illusion. To be sure
there were the boots untouched, the coat, the hat, and the portmanteau;
but where--oh where--were the watch and the plethoric pocketbook, with
its bunch of bank-notes and other minor memoranda? Gone--spirited away;
and with a shout of despair old Grobey summoned the household.

The police were straightway taken into his confidence. The tale of the
midnight apparition--of the Demon Lady--was told and listened to, at
first with somewhat of an incredulous smile; but when the landlord
stated that an unknown damosel had been sojourning for two days at the
hotel, that she had that morning vanished in a hackney-coach without
leaving any trace of her address, and that, moreover, certain spoons of
undeniable silver were amissing, Argus pricked up his ears, and after
some few preliminary inquiries, issued forth in quest of the fugitive.
Two days afterwards the fair Saville was discovered in a temperance
hotel; and although the pocketbook had disappeared, both the
recognisable notes and the watch were found in her possession. A number
of pawn-tickets, also, which were contained in her reticule, served to
collect from divers quarters a great mass of _bijouterie_, amongst which
were the Blenheim spoons.

Such was Mr Grobey's evidence as afterwards supplemented by the police.
Tom rose to cross-examine.

"Pray, Mr Grobey," said he, adjusting his gown upon his shoulders with a
very knowing and determined air as though he intended to expose his
victim--"Pray, Mr Grobey, are you any judge of studs?"

"I ain't a racing man," replied Grobey, "but I knows an oss when I sees

"Don't equivocate, sir, if you please. Recollect you are upon your
oath," said Strachan, irritated by a slight titter which followed upon
Grobey's answer. "I mean studs, sir--emerald studs for example?"

"I ain't. But the lady is," replied Grobey.

"How do you mean, sir?"

"'Cos there vos five pair on them taken out of pawn with her tickets."

"How do you know that, sir?"

"'Cos I seed them."

"Were you at Jedburgh, sir, in the month of April last?"

"I was."

"Do you recollect seeing me there?"


"Do you remember what passed upon that occasion?"

"You was rather confluscated, I think."

There was a general laugh.

"Mr Strachan," said the judge mildly, "I am always sorry to interrupt a
young counsel, but I really cannot see the relevancy of these questions.
The Court can have nothing to do with your communications with the
witness. I presume I need not take a note of these latter answers."

"Very well, my lord," said Tom, rather discomfited at being cut out of
his revenge on the bagman, "I shall ask him something else;" and he
commenced his examination in right earnest. Grobey, however, stood
steadfast to the letter of his previous testimony.

Another witness was called; and to my surprise the Scottish Vidocq
appeared. He spoke to the apprehension and the search, and also to the
character of the prisoner. In his eyes she had long been chronicled as
habit and repute a thief.

"You know the prisoner then?" said Strachan rising.

"I do. Any time these three years."

"Under what name is she known to you?"

"Betsy Brown is her real name, but she has gone by twenty others."

"By twenty, do you say?"

"There or thereabouts. She always flies at high game; and, being a
remarkably clever woman, she passes herself off for a lady."

"Have you ever seen her elsewhere than in Glasgow?"

"I have."


"At Jedburgh."

I cannot tell what impulse it was that made me twitch Strachan's gown at
this moment. It was not altogether a suspicion, but rather a
presentiment of coming danger. Strachan took the hint and changed his

"Can you specify any of her other names?"

"I can. There are half-a-dozen of them here on the pawn-tickets. Shall I
read them?"

"If you please."

"One diamond ring, pledged in name of Lady Emily Delaroche. A garnet
brooch and chain--Miss Maria Mortimer. Three gold seals--Mrs Markham
Vere. A watch and three emerald studs--the Honourable Dorothea

There was a loud shriek from the bar, and a bustle--the prisoner had

I looked at Strachan. He was absolutely as white as a corpse.

"My dear Tom," said I, "hadn't you better go out into the open air?"

"No!" was the firm reply; "I am here to do my duty, and I'll do it."

And in effect, the Spartan boy with the fox gnawing into his side, did
not acquit himself more heroically than my friend. The case was a clear
one, no doubt, but Tom made a noble speech, and was highly complimented
by the Judge upon his ability. No sooner, however, had he finished it
than he left the Court.

I saw him two hours afterwards.

"Tom," said I, "About these emerald studs--I think I could get them back
from the Fiscal."

"Keep them to yourself. I'm off to India."

"Bah!--go down to the Highlands for a month."

Tom did so; purveyed himself a kilt; met an heiress at the Inverness
Meeting, and married her. He is now the happy father of half-a-dozen
children, and a good many of us would give a trifle for his practice.
But to this day he is as mad as a March hare if an allusion is made in
his presence to any kind of studs whatsoever.


  Wake, Rome! destruction's at thy door.
  Rouse thee! for thou wilt sleep no more
            Till thou shalt sleep in death:
  The tramp of storm-shod Mars is near--
  His chariot's thundering roll I hear,
            His trumpet's startling breath.
  Who comes?--not they, thy fear of old,
  The blue-eyed Gauls, the Cimbrians bold,
  Who like a hail-shower in the May
  Came, and like hail they pass'd away;
            But one with surer sword,
  A child whom thou hast nursed, thy son,
  Thy well-beloved, thy favoured one,
            Thy Cæsar comes--thy lord!

  The ghost of Marius walks to-night
  By Anio's banks in shaggy plight,
            And laughs with savage glee;
  And Sylla from his loathsome death,
  Scenting red Murder's reeking breath,
            Doth rise to look on thee.
  Signs blot the sky; the deep-vex'd earth
  Breeds portents of a monstrous birth;
  And augurs pale with fear have noted
  The dark-vein'd liver strangely bloated,
            Hinting some dire disaster.
  To right the wrongs of human kind
  Behold! the lordly Rome to bind,
            A Roman comes--a master.

  He comes whom, nor the Belgic band,
  The bravest Nervii might withstand
            With pleasure-spurning souls
  Nor they might give his star eclipse,
  The sea-swept Celts with high-tower'd ships,
            Where westmost ocean rolls.
  Him broad-waved Rhine reluctant own'd
  As 'neath the firm-set planks it groan'd,
  Then, when the march of spoiling Rome
  Stirr'd the far German's forest-home;
            And when he show'd his rods
  Back to their marshy dens withdrew
  The Titan-hearted Suevians blue,
            That dared the immortal gods.

  Him Britain from her extreme shores,
  Where fierce the huge-heaved ocean roars,
            Beholding, bent the knee.
  Now, Pompey, now! from rushing Fate
  Thy Rome redeem: but 'tis too late,
            Nor lives that strength in thee.
  In vain for thee State praises flow
  From lofty-sounding Cicero;
  Vainly Marcellus prates thy cause,
  And Cato, true to parchment laws,
            Protests with rigid hands:
  The echo of a by-gone fame,
  The shadow of a mighty name,
            The far-praised Pompey stands.

  Lift up thine eyes, and see! Sheer down,
  From where the Alps tremendous frown,
            Strides War, which Julius leads:
  Eager to follow, to pursue--
  Sleepless, to one high purpose true,
            The prosperous soldier speeds.
  He comes, all eye to scan, all hand
  To do, the instinct of command;
  With firm-set tread, and pointed will,
  And harden'd courage, practised skill,
            And anger-whetted sword:
  A man to seize, and firmly hold--
  To his own use a world to mould--
            Rome's not unworthy lord!

  The little Rubicon doth brim
  Its purple tide--a check for him,
            Hinted, how vainly![15] He
  All bounds and marks, the world's dull wonder,
  Calmly o'erleaps, and snaps asunder
            All reverend ties that be!
  The soldier carries in his sword
  The primal right by bridge or ford
  To pass. Shall kingly Cæsar fall
  And kiss the ground--the Senate's thrall
            And boastful Pompey's drudge?
  Forthwith, with one bold plunge, is pass'd
  The fateful flood--"the DIE is CAST;
  Let Fortune be the judge!"[16]

  The day rose on Ariminum
  With War's shrill cry--They come! they come!
        Nor they unwelcomed came;
  Pisauram, Fanum's shrine, and thou,
  Ancon, with thy sea-fronting brow,
        Own'd the great soldier's name.
  And all Picenum's orchard-fields,
  And the strong-forted Asculum yields:
  And where, beyond high Apennine,
  Clitumnus feeds the white, white kine;
        And 'mid Pelignian hills--
  Short time, with his Corfinian bands,
  Stout Aenobarbus stiffly stands
        Where urgent Cæsar wills![17]

  Flee, Pompey, flee! the ancient awe
  Of magisterial rule and law,
        Authority and state,
  The Consul's name, the Lictor's rods,
  The pomp of Capitolian gods,
        Stem not the flooding fate.
  Beneath the Volscian hills, and near
  Where exiled Marius lurk'd in fear,
  'Mid stagnant Liris' marshes, there
  Breathe first in that luxurious lair
        Where famous Hannibal lay;[18]
  Nor tarry; while the chance is thine.
  Hie o'er the Samnian Apennine
        To the far Calabrian bay!

  Wing thy sure speed! Who hounds thy path?
  Fierce as the Furies in their wrath
        The blood-stain'd wretch pursue,
  He comes, Rome's tempest-footed son,
  Victor, but deeming nothing done
        While aught remains to do.
  Above Brundusium's bosom'd bay
  He stands, lashing the Adrian spray.
  With piers of enterprise the sea
  Her fleet-wing'd chariot trims for thee,
        To the Greek coast to bear thee;
  There, where Enipeus rolls his flood
  Through storied fields made fat with blood,[19]
        For fate's last blow prepare thee.

  There will thy dwindled hosts, increased
  By kings and tetrarchs of the East,
        And sons of swarthy Nile;
  From Pontus and from Colchis far,
  The gather'd ranks of motley war,
        Let fortune seem to smile
  A moment, that with sterner frown,
  She, when she strikes, may strike thee down.
  A flattering fool shall be thy guide,[20]
  And hope shall whisper to thy pride
        Things that may not befall.
  Thy forward-springing wit shall boast
  The numbers of thy counted host--
        That pride may have a fall.

  Hoar Pindus, from his rocky barriers,
  Looks on thy ranks of gay-plumed warriors,
        And sees an ominous sight:
  The leafy tent for victory graced,
  Foresnatching fate with impious haste
        From gods that rule the fight.
  Thus fools have perish'd; and thus thou,
  Spurr'd to sheer death, art blinded now.
  Feeble thy clouds of clattering horse
  To dash his steady ordered force;
        From twanging bow and sling
  Dintless the missile hail is pour'd,
 Where the Tenth Legion wields the sword,
        And Cæsar leads the wing.[21]

  'Tis done. And sire to son shall tell
  What on Emathian plains befell,
        A God-ordain'd disaster;
  How justice dealt the even blow,
  And Rome that laid the nations low
        Herself hath found a master.
  Oh, had thou known thyself to rule,
  That train'd the world in thy stern school,
 Fate might have gentlier dealt; but now
  Thyself thy proper Fury, thou
        Hast struck the avenging blow.
  On sandy Afric's treacherous shore,
  Fresh from red Pharsaly's streaming gore,
        Lies Rome with Pompey low.

     J. S. B.



[15] The Rubicon, which is a small torrent, a little north of _Rimini_
(_Ariminum_), flowing into the Hadriatic, was, at the time of Cæsar's
famous passage, swollen to a considerable stream by three days'
rain.--LUCAN, i. 213-19.

[16] "'Hic,' ait--'hic pacem temerataque jura relinquo.
    Te, Fortuna, sequor, procul hinc jam foedera sunto;
    Credidunus Fatis, uterdum est judice bello.'"--LUCAN, i. 227.

[17] Cæsar met with no opposition in his march to Rome except from
Domitius Aenobarbus, who was stationed at Corfinium, amid the Apennines,
east of the Eucine lake. The line of march which Cæsarr took, through
Picenum, was, as Gibbon has remarked, calculated at once to clear his
rear of the Pompeian party, and to frighten Pompey himself, not only out
of Rome, but, as actually happened, out of Italy.

[18] Pompey fled to _Capua_, passing the marshes of _Minturnae_ at the
mouth of the _Liris_ (now the Garigliano), and from thence over the
Apennines, by the Via Appia, to Brundusium in the ancient _Calabria_.

[19] An allusion to the battle of _Cynoscephalae_, which subjected
Macedonia to the Romans (B. C. 197.) The scene of this battle was on the
same plain of Thessaly through which the Enipeus flows into the Peneus,
passing by Pharsalus in its course. This alludes to the battle of
Dyrrachium, where Pompey was successful for a moment, only to revive in
his party that vain confidence and shallow conceit which was their
original ruin.

[20] _Labienus_, Cæsar's lieutenant in the Gallic war; but who
afterwards joined Pompey. He gave his new master bad advice.--_Bellum
Civile_, iii.

[21] See the order of battle of both parties.--_Bellum Civile_, iii. 68,


Although Dr Reid does not stand in the very highest rank of
philosophers, this incomparable edition of his works goes far to redress
his deficiencies, and to render his writings, taken in connexion with
the editorial commentaries, a most engaging and profitable study. It is
probable that the book derives much of its excellence from the very
imperfections of the textual author. Had Reid been a more learned man,
he might have failed to elicit the unparalleled erudition of his
editor,--had he been a clearer and closer thinker, Sir William
Hamilton's vigorous logic and speculative acuteness, would probably have
found a narrower field for their display. On the whole, we cannot wish
that Reid had been either more erudite or more perspicacious, so pointed
and felicitous is the style in which his errors are corrected, his
thoughts reduced to greater precision, his ambiguities pointed out and
cleared up, and his whole system set in its most advantageous light, by
his admiring, though by no means idolatrous editor.

Besides being a model of editorship, this single volume is, in so far as
philosophy and the history of philosophical opinion are concerned, of
itself a literature. We must add, however, that Sir William Hamilton's
dissertations, though abundant, are not yet completed. Yet, in spite of
this drawback, the work is one which ought to wipe away effectually from
our country the reproach of imperfect learning and shallow speculation;
for in depth of thought, and extent and accuracy of knowledge, the
editor's own contributions are of themselves sufficient to bring up our
national philosophy (which had fallen somewhat into arrear) to a level
with that of the most scientific countries in Europe.

In the remarks that are to follow, we shall confine ourselves to a
critique of the philosophy of Dr Reid, and of its collateral topics. Sir
William Hamilton's dissertations are too elaborate and important to be
discussed, unless in an article, or series of articles, devoted
exclusively to themselves. Should we appear in aught to press the
philosophy of common sense too hard, we conceive that our strictures
are, to a considerable extent, borne out by the admissions of Sir
William Hamilton himself, in regard to the tenets of the founder of the
school. And should some of our shafts glance off against the editor's
own opinions, he has only himself to blame for it. If we see a fatal
flaw in the constitution of all, and consequently of his, psychology, it
was his writings that first opened our eyes to it. So lucidly has he
explained certain philosophical doctrines, that they cannot stop at the
point to which he has carried them. They must be rolled forward into a
new development which perhaps may be at variance with the old one, where
he tarries. But his powerful arm first set the stone in motion, and he
must be content to let it travel whithersoever it may. He has taught
those who study him _to think_--and he must stand the consequences,
whether they think in unison with himself or not. We, conceive, however,
that even those who differ from him most, would readily own, that to his
instructive disquisitions they were indebted for at least one half of
all that they know of philosophy.

In entering on an examination of the system of Dr Reid, we must ask
first of all, what is the great problem about which philosophers in all
ages have busied themselves most, and which consequently must have
engaged, and did engage, a large share of the attention of the champion
of Common Sense? We must also state the _fact_ which gives rise to the
problem of philosophy.

The perception of a material universe, as it is the most prominent fact
of cognition, so has it given rise to the problem which has been most
agitated by philosophers. This question does not relate to the existence
of the fact. The existence of the perception of matter is admitted on
all hands. It refers to the nature, or origin, or constitution of the
fact. Is the perception of matter simple and indivisible, or is it
composite and divisible? Is it the ultimate, or is it only the
penultimate, _datum_ of cognition? Is it a relation constituted by the
concurrence of a mental or subjective, and a material or objective
element,--or do we impose upon ourselves in regarding it as such? Is it
a state, or modification of the human mind? Is it an effect that can be
distinguished from its cause? Is it an event consequent on the presence
of real antecedent objects? These interrogations are somewhat varied in
their form, but each of them embodies the whole point at issue, each of
them contains the cardinal question of philosophy. The perception of
matter is the admitted fact. The _character_ of this fact--that is the
point which speculation undertakes to canvass, and endeavours to

Another form in which the question may be put is this: We all believe in
the existence of matter--but what _kind_ of matter do we believe in the
existence of? matter _per se_, or matter _cum perceptione_? If the
former--this implies that the given fact (the perception of matter) is
compound and submits to analysis; if the latter--this implies that it is
simple and defies partition.

Opposite answers to this question are returned by psychology and
metaphysics. In the estimation of metaphysic, the perception of matter
is the absolutely elementary in cognition, the _ne plus ultra_ of
thought. Reason cannot get beyond, or behind it. It has no pedigree. It
admits of no analysis. It is not a relation constituted by the
coalescence of an objective and a subjective element. It is not a state
or modification of the human mind. It is not an effect which can be
distinguished from its cause. It is not brought about by the presence of
antecedent realities. It is positively the FIRST, with no forerunner.
The perception-of-matter is one mental word, of which the verbal words
are mere syllables. We impose upon ourselves, and we also falsify the
fact, if we take any other view of it than this. Thus speaks metaphysic,
though perhaps not always with an unfaltering voice.

Psychology, or the science of the human mind, teaches a very different
doctrine. According to this science, the perception of matter is a
secondary and composite truth. It admits of being analysed into a
subjective and an objective element--a mental modification called
perception on the one hand, and matter _per se_ on the other. It is an
effect induced by real objects. It is not the first _datum_ of
intelligence. It has matter itself for its antecedent. Such, in very
general terms, is the explanation of the perception of matter which
psychology proposes.

Psychology and metaphysics are thus radically opposed to each other in
their solutions of the highest problem of speculation. Stated concisely,
the difference between them is this:--psychology regards the perception
of matter as susceptible of analytic treatment, and travels, or
endeavours to travel, beyond the given fact: metaphysic stops short in
the given fact, and there makes a stand, declaring it to be all
indissoluble unity. Psychology holds her analysis to be an analysis of
things. Metaphysic holds the psychological analysis to be an analysis
of sounds--and nothing more.

These observations exhibit, in their loftiest generalisation, the two
counter doctrines on the subject of perception. We now propose to follow
them into their details, for the purpose both of eliciting the truth and
of arriving at a correct judgment in regard to the reformation which Dr
Reid is supposed to have effected in this department of philosophy.

The psychological or analytic doctrine is the first which we shall
discuss, on account of its connexion with the investigations of Dr
Reid,--in regard to whom we may state, beforehand, our conclusion and
its grounds, which are these:--that Reid broke down in his philosophy,
both polemical and positive, because he assumed the psychological and
not the metaphysical doctrine of perception as the basis of his
arguments. He did not regard the perception of matter as absolutely
primary and simple; but in common with all psychologists, he conceived
that it admitted of being resolved into a mental condition, and a
material reality; and the consequence was, that he fell into the very
errors which it was the professed business of his life to denounce and
exterminate. How this catastrophe came about we shall endeavour shortly
to explain.

Reid's leading design was to overthrow scepticism and idealism. In
furtherance of this intention, he proposed to himself the accomplishment
of two subsidiary ends,--the refutation of what is called the ideal or
representative theory of perception, and the substitution of a doctrine
of intuitive perception in its room. He takes, and he usually gets,
credit for having accomplished both of these objects. But if it be true
that the representative theory is but the inevitable development of the
doctrine which treats the perception of matter analytically, and if it
be true that Reid adopts this latter doctrine, it is obvious that his
claims cannot be admitted without a very considerable deduction. That
both of these things are true may be established, we think, beyond the
possibility of a doubt.

In the first place, then, we have to show that the theory of a
representative perception (which Reid is supposed to have overthrown) is
identical with the doctrine which treats the perception of matter
analytically;--and, in the second, we have to show that Reid himself
followed the analytic or psychological procedure in his treatment of
this fact, and founded upon the analysis his own doctrine of perception.

_First_, The representative theory is that doctrine of perception which
teaches that, in our intercourse with the external universe, we are not
immediately cognisant of real objects themselves, but only of certain
mental transcripts or images of them, which, in the language of the
different philosophical schools, were termed ideas, representations,
phantasms, or species. According to this doctrine we are cognisant of
real things, not in and through themselves, but in and through these
species or representations. The representations are the immediate or
proximate, the real things are the mediate or remote, objects of the
mind. The existence of the former is a matter of knowledge, the
existence of the latter is merely a matter of belief.

To understand this theory, we must construe its nomenclature into, the
language of the present day. What, then, is the modern synonym for the
"ideas," "representations," "phantasms," and "species," which the theory
in question declares to be vicarious of real objects? There cannot be a
doubt that the word _perception_ is that synonym. So that the
representative theory, when fairly interpreted, amounts simply to
this;--that the mind is immediately cognisant, not of real objects
themselves, but _only of its own perceptions of real objects_. To accuse
the representationist of maintaining a doctrine more repugnant to common
sense than this, or in any way different from it, would be both
erroneous and unjust. The golden rule of philosophical criticism is, to
give every system the benefit of the most favourable interpretation
which it admits of.

This, then, is the true version of representationism,--namely, that our
perceptions of material things, and not material things _per se_, are
the proximate objects of our consciousness when we hold intercourse with
the external universe.

Now, this is a doctrine which inevitably emerges the instant that the
analysis of the perception of matter is set on foot and admitted. When a
philosopher divides, or imagines that he divides, the perception of
matter into two things, perception _and_ matter, holding the former to
be a state of his own mind, and the latter to be no such state; he does,
in that analysis, and without saying one other word, avow himself to be
a thoroughgoing representationist. For his analysis declares that, in
perception, the mind has an immediate or proximate, and a mediate or
remote object. Its perception of matter is the proximate object--the
object of its consciousness; matter itself, the material existence, is
the remote object--the object of its belief. But such a doctrine is
representationism, in the strictest sense of the word. It is the very
essence and definition of the representative theory to recognise, in
perception, a remote as well as a proximate object of the mind. Every
system which does this, is necessarily a representative system. The
doctrine which treats the perception of matter analytically does this;
therefore the analytic or psychological doctrine is identical with the
representative theory. Both hold that the perceptive process involves
two objects--an immediate and a mediate; and nothing more is required to
establish their perfect identity. The analysis of the fact which we call
the perception of matter, is unquestionably the groundwork and pervading
principle of the theory of a representative perception, whatever form of
expression this scheme may at any time have assumed.

_Secondly_, Did Dr Reid go to work analytically in his treatment of the
perception of matter? Undoubtedly he did. He followed the ordinary
psychological practice. He regarded the _datum_ as divisible into
perception and matter. The perception he held to be an act, if not a
modification, of our minds; the matter, he regarded as something which
existed out of the mind and irrespective of all perception. Right or
wrong, he resolved, or conceived that he had resolved, the perception of
matter into its constituent elements--these being a mental operation on
the one hand, and a material existence on the other. In short, however
ambiguous many of Dr Reid's principles may be, there can be no doubt
that he founded his doctrine of perception on an analysis of the given
fact with which he had to deal. He says, indeed, but little about this
analysis, so completely does he take it for granted. He accepted, as a
thing of course, the notorious distinction between the perception of
matter and matter itself: and, in doing so, he merely followed the
example of all preceding psychologists.

These two points being established,--_first_, that the theory of
representationism necessarily arises out of an analysis of the
perception of matter; and _secondly_, that Reid analysed or accepted the
analysis of this fact,--it follows as a necessary consequence, that
Reid, so far from having overthrown the representative theory, was
himself a representationist. His analysis gave him more than he
bargained for. He wished to obtain only one, that is, only a proximate
object in perception; but his analysis necessarily gave him two: it gave
him a remote as well as a proximate object. The mental mode or operation
which he calls the perception of matter, and which he distinguishes from
matter itself, this, in his philosophy, is the proximate object of
consciousness, and is precisely equivalent to the species, phantasms,
representations of the older psychology; the real existence, matter
itself, which he distinguishes from the perception of it, this is the
remote object of the mind, and is precisely equivalent to the mediate or
represented object of the older psychology. He and therepresentationists,
moreover, agree in hold ing that the latter is the object of belief rather
than of knowledge.

The merits of Dr Reid, then, as a reformer of philosophy, amount in our
opinion to this:--he was among the first[23] to _say_ and to _write_
that the representative theory of perception was false and erroneous,
and was the fountainhead of scepticism and idealism. But this admission
of his merits must be accompanied by the qualification that he adopted,
as the basis of his philosophy, a principle which rendered nugatory all
his protestations. It is of no use to disclaim a conclusion if we accept
the premises which inevitably lead to it. Dr Reid disclaimed the
representative theory, but he embraced its premises, and thus he
virtually ratified the conclusions of the very system which he
clamourously denounced. In his language, he is opposed to
representationism, but in his doctrine, he lends it the strongest
support, by accepting as the foundation of his philosophy an analysis of
the perception of matter.

In regard to the _second_ end which Dr Reid is supposed to have
overtaken,--the establishment of a doctrine of intuitive as opposed to a
doctrine of representative perception, it is unnecessary to say much. If
we have proved him to be a representationist, he cannot be held to be an
intuitionist. Indeed, a doctrine of intuitive perception is a sheer
impossibility upon his principles. A doctrine of intuition implies that
the mind in perceiving matter has only one, namely, a proximate object.
But the analysis of the perception of matter yields as its result, a
remote as well as a proximate object. The proximate object is the
perception--the remote object is the reality. And thus the analysis of
the given fact necessarily renders abortive every endeavour to construct
a doctrine of intuitive perception. The attempt _must_ end in
representationism. The only basis for a doctrine of intuitive perception
which will never give way, is a resolute forbearance from all analysis
of the fact. Do not tamper with it, and you are safe.

Such is the judgment which we are reluctantly compelled to pronounce on
the philosophy of Dr Reid in reference to its two cardinal claims--the
refutation of the ideal theory, and the establishment of a truer
doctrine--a doctrine of intuitive perception. In neither of these
undertakings do we think that he has succeeded, and we have exhibited
the grounds of our opinion. We do not blame him for this: he simply
missed his way at the outset. Representationism could not possibly be
avoided, neither could intuitionism be possibly fallen in with, on the
analytic road which he took.

But we have not yet done with the consideration of the psychological or
analytic doctrine of perception. We proceed to examine the entanglements
in which reason gets involved when she accepts the perception of matter
not in its natural and indissoluble unity, but as analysed by
philosophers into a mental and a material factor. We have still an eye
to Dr Reid. He came to the rescue of reason--how did it fare with him in
the struggle?

The analysis so often referred to affords a starting point, as has been
shown, to representationism: it is also the tap-root of scepticism and
idealism. These four things hang together in an inevitable sequence.
Scepticism and idealism dog representationism, and representationism
dogs the analysis of the perception of matter, just as obstinately as
substance is dogged by shadow. More explicitly stated, the order in
which they move is this:--The analysis divides the perception of matter
into perception and matter--two separate things. Upon this,
representationism declares, that the perception is the proximate and
that the matter is the remote object of the mind. Then scepticism
declares, that the existence of the matter which has been separated from
the perception is problematical, because it is not the direct object of
consciousness, and is consequently hypothetical. And, last of all,
idealism takes up the ball and declares, that this hypothetical matter
is not only problematical, but that it is non-existent. These are the
perplexities which rise up to embarrass reason whenever she is weak
enough to accept from philosophers their analysis of the perception of
matter. They are only the just punishment of her infatuated facility.
But what has Reid done to extricate reason from her embarrassments?

We must remember that Reid commenced with analysis, and that
consequently he embraced representationism,--in its spirit, if not
positively in its letter. But how did he evade the fangs of scepticism
and idealism--to say nothing of destroying--these sleuth-hounds which on
this road were sure to be down upon his track the moment they got wind
of him? We put the question in a less figurative form,--When scepticism
and idealism doubted or denied the independent existence of matter, how
did Reid vindicate it? He faced about and appealed boldly to our
instinctive and irresistible _belief_ in its independent existence.

The crisis of the strife centres in this appeal. In itself, the appeal
is perfectly competent and legitimate. But it may be met, on the part of
the sceptic and idealist, by two modes of tactic. The one tactic is
weak, and gives an easy triumph to Dr Reid: the other is more
formidable, and, in our opinion, lays him prostrate.

_The first Sceptical Tactic._ In answer to Dr Reid's appeal, the sceptic
or idealist may say, "Doubtless we have a belief in the independent
existence of matter; but this belief is not to be trusted. It is an
insufficient guarantee for that which it avouches. It does not follow
that a thing is true because we instinctively believe it to be true. It
does not follow that matter exists because we cannot but believe it to
exist. You must prove its existence by a better argument than mere
belief."--This mode of meeting the appeal we hold to be pure trifling.
We join issue with Dr Reid in maintaining that our nature is not rooted
in delusion, and that the primitive convictions of common sense, must be
accepted as infallible. If the sceptic admits that we _have_ a natural
belief in the independent existence of matter, there is an end to him:
Dr Reid's victory is secure. This first tactic is a feeble and mistaken

_The Second Sceptical Tactic._ This position is not so easily turned.
The stronghold of the sceptic and idealist is this: they deny the
primitive belief to which Dr Reid appeals to be _the fact_. It is not
true, they say, that any man believes in the independent existence of
matter. And this is perfectly obvious the moment that it is explained.
Matter in its _independent_ existence, matter _per se_, is matter
disengaged in thought from all perception of it present or remembered.
Now, does any man believe in the existence of such matter?
Unquestionably not. No man by any possibility can. What the matter is
which man really believes in shall be explained when we come to speak of
the metaphysical solution of the problem--perhaps sooner. Meanwhile we
remark that Dr Reid's appeal to the conviction of common sense in favour
of the existence of matter _per se_, is rebutted, and in our opinion
triumphantly, by the denial on the part of scepticism and idealism that
any such belief exists. Scepticism and idealism not only deny the
independent existence of matter, but they deny that any man believes in
the independent existence of matter. And in this denial they are most
indubitably right. For observe what such a belief requires as its
condition. A man must disengage in thought, a tree, for instance, from
the thought of all perception of it, and then he must believe in its
existence thus disengaged. If he has not disengaged, in his mind, the
tree from its perception, (from its present perception, if the tree be
before him--from its remembered perception, if it be not before him,) he
cannot believe in the existence of the tree disengaged from its
perception; for the tree is not disengaged from its perception. But
unless he believes in the existence of the tree disengaged from its
perception, he does not believe in the independent existence of the
tree,--in the existence of the tree _per se_. Now, can the mind by any
effort effect this disengagement? The thing is an absolute
impossibility. The condition on which the belief hinges cannot be
purified, and consequently the belief itself cannot be entertained.

People have, then, _no belief_ in the independent existence of
matter--that is, in the existence of matter entirely denuded of
perception. This point being proved, what becomes of Dr Reid's appeal to
_this belief_ in support of matter's independent existence? It has not
only no force; it has no meaning. This second tactic is invincible.
Scepticism and idealism are perfectly in the right when they refuse to
accept as the guarantee of independent matter a belief which itself has
no manner of existence. How can they be vanquished by an appeal to a

A question may here be raised. If the belief in question be not the
fact, what has hitherto prevented scepticism from putting a final
extinguisher on Reid's appeal by _proving_ that no such belief exists? A
very sufficient reason has prevented scepticism, from doing this--from
explicitly extinguishing the appeal. There is a division of labour in
speculation as well as in other pursuits. It is the sceptic's business
simply to deny the existence of the belief: it is no part of his
business to exhibit the grounds of his denial. _We_ have explained these
grounds; but were the sceptic to do this, he would be travelling out of
his vocation. Observe how the case stands. The reason why matter _per
se_ is not and cannot be believed in, is because it is impossible for
thought to disengage matter from perception, and consequently it is
impossible for thought to believe in the disengaged existence of matter.
The matter to be, believed in is not disengaged from the perception,
consequently it cannot be believed to be disengaged from the perception.
But unless it be believed to be disengaged from the perception, it
cannot be believed to exist _per se_. In short, as we have already said,
the impossibility of complying with the _condition_ of the belief is the
ground on which the sceptic denies the _existence_ of the belief. But
the sceptic is himself debarred from producing these grounds. Why?
Because their exhibition would be tantamount to a rejection of the
principle which he has _accepted_ at the hands of the orthodox and
dogmatic psychologist. That principle is the analysis so often spoken
of--the separation, namely, of the perception of matter into perception
and matter _per se_. The sceptic accepts this analysis. His business is
simply to _accept_, not to discover or scrutinise principles. Having
accepted the analysis, he then denies that any belief attaches to the
existence of matter _per se_. In this he is quite right. But he cannot,
consistently with his calling, exhibit the ground of his denial; for
this ground is, as we have shown, the impossibility of performing the
analysis,--of effecting the requisite disengagement. But the sceptic has
accepted the analysis, has admitted the disengagement. He therefore
cannot now retract: and he has no wish to retract. His special
mission--his only object is to confound the principle which he has
accepted by means of the reaction of its consequence. The inevitable
consequence which ensues when the analysis of the perception of matter
is admitted is the extinction of all belief in the existence of matter.
The analysis gives us a kind of matter to believe in to which no belief
corresponds. The sceptic is content with pronouncing this to be the fact
without going into its reason. It is not his business to correct, by a
direct exposure, the error of the principle which the dogmatist lays
down, and which he accepts. The analysis is the psychologist's affair;
let _him_ look to it. Were the sceptic to make it his, he would emerge,
from the sceptical crisis, and pass into a new stage of speculation. He,
indeed, subverts it indirectly by a _reductio ad absurdum_. But he does
not _say_ that he subverts it--he leaves the orthodox proposer of the
principle to find that out.

Reid totally misconceived the nature of scepticism and idealism in their
bearings on this problem. He regarded them as habits of thought--as
dispositions of mind peculiar to certain individuals of vexatious
character and unsound principles, instead of viewing them as catholic
eras in the development of all genuine speculative thinking. In his eyes
they were subjective crotchets limited to some, and not objective crises
common to all, who think. He made _personal_ matters of them--a thing
not to be endured. For instance, in dealing with Hume, he conceived that
the scepticism which confronted him in the pages of that great genius,
was _Hume's_ scepticism, and was not the scepticism of human nature at
large,--was not his own scepticism just as much as it was Hume's. _His_
soul, so he thought, was free from the obnoxious flaw, merely because
_his_ anatomy, shallower than Hume's, refused to lay it bare. With such
views it was impossible for Reid to eliminate scepticism and idealism
from philosophy. These foes are the foes of each man's own house and
heart, and nothing can be made of them if we attack them in the person
of another. Ultimately and fairly to get rid of them, a man must first
of all thoroughly digest them, and take them up into the vital
circulation of his own reason. The only way of putting them back is by
carrying them forward.

From having never properly secreted scepticism and idealism in his own
mind, Reid fell into the commission of one of the gravest errors of
which a philosopher can be guilty. He falsified the fact in regard to
our primitive beliefs--a thing which the obnoxious systems against which
he was fighting never did. He conceived that scepticism and idealism
called in question a fact which was countenanced by a natural belief;
accordingly, he confronted their denial with the allegation that the
disputed fact--the existence of matter _per se_--was guaranteed by a
primitive conviction of our nature. But this fact receives no support
from any such source. There is no belief in the whole repository of the
mind which can be fitted on to the existence of matter denuded of all
perception. Therefore, in maintaining the contrary, Reid falsified the
fact in regard to our primitive convictions--in regard to those
principles of common sense which he professed to follow as his guide.
This was a serious slip. The rash step which he here took plunged him
into a much deeper error than that of the sceptic or idealist. They
err[24] in common with him in accepting as their starting-point the
analysis of the perception of matter. He errs, by himself, in
maintaining that there is a belief where no belief exists.

But do not scepticism and idealism doubt matter's existence
_altogether_, or deny to it _any_ kind of existence? Certainly they do;
and in harmony with the principle from which they start they must do
this. The _only_ kind of matter which the analysis of the perception of
matter yields, is matter _per se_. The existence of such matter is, as
we have shown, altogether uncountenanced either by consciousness or
belief. But there is no other kind of matter in the field. We must
therefore either believe in the existence of matter _per se_, or we must
believe in the existence of _no_ matter whatever. We do not, and we
cannot believe in the existence of matter _per se_; therefore, we cannot
believe in the existence of matter at all. This is not satisfactory, but
it is closely consequential.

But why not, it may be said--why not cut the knot, and set the question
at rest, by admitting at once that every man _does_, popularly speaking,
believe in the existence of matter, and that he practically walks in the
light of that belief during every moment of his life? This observation
tempts us into a digression, and we shall yield to the temptation. The
problem of perception admits of being treated in _three_ several ways:
_first_, we may ignore it altogether,--we may refuse to entertain it at
all; or, _secondly_, we may discuss it in the manner just proposed--we
may lay it down as gospel that everyman does believe in the existence of
matter, and acts at all times upon this conviction, and we may expatiate
diffusely over these smooth truths; or, _thirdly_, we may follow and
contemplate the subtle and often perplexed windings which reason takes
in working her way through the problem--a problem which, though
apparently clearer than the noonday sun, is really darker than the
mysteries of Erebus. In short, we may _speculate_ the problem. In
grappling with it, we may trust ourselves to the mighty current of
_thinking_, with all its whirling eddies,--certain that if our thinking
be genuine objective thinking, which deals with nothing but
_ascertained_ facts--it will bring us at last into the haven of truth.
We now propose to consider which of these modes of treating the problem
is the best; we shall begin by making a few remarks upon the _second_,
for it was this which brought us to a stand, and seduced us into the
present digression.

It is, no doubt, perfectly true, that we all believe in the existence
of matter, and that we all act up to this belief. But surely that
statement is not a thing, to be put into a book and _sold_. It is not
even a thing which one man is entitled to tell _gratuitously_ to another
man who knows it just as well as he does. It must be admitted upon a
moment's reflection, that to communicate such information is to trifle
with people's patience in an intolerable degree, is to trespass most
abominably upon public or upon private indulgence. What, then, shall we
say, when we find this kind of truth not only gravely imparted, but
vehemently reiterated and enforced by scientific men, as it is in the
pages of Dr Reid and other celebrated expounders of the philosophy of
the human mind? We shall only say, that the economy of science is less
understood than that of commerce; and that while material articles, such
as air and sunshine, which are accessible to all, are for that reason
excluded from the market of trade, many intellectual wares, which are at
least equally accessible, are most preposterously permitted to have a
place in the market of science. Such wares are the instinctive
principles of Dr Reid. To inform a man that the material universe
exists, and that he believes in its existence, is to take for granted
that he is an idiot.

The circumstance which led the philosophers of Common Sense to traffic
in this kind of article, was perhaps the notion that truths had a value
in communication in proportion to their _importance_ to mankind. But
that is a most mistaken idea. The most important truths have absolutely
no value in communication. The truth that "each of us exists"--the truth
"that each of us is the same person to-day that he was yesterday," the
truth that "a material universe exists, and that we believe in its
existence,"--all these are most important truths--most important things
to know. It is difficult to see how we could get on without this
knowledge. Yet they are not worth one straw in communication. And why
not? Just for the same reason that atmospheric air, though absolutely
indispensable to our existence, has no value whatever in exchange--this
reason being that we can get, and have already got, both the air and the
truths, in unlimited abundance for nothing,--and thanks to no man. Why
_give_ a man what he has already _got_ to his heart's content--why
_teach_ him what he already _knows_ even to repletion?

It is not its importance, then, which confers upon truth its value in
communication. In other words, it is a most superfluous civility for one
man to impart truth to another, solely because it happens to be
important. If the important truth be already perfectly well known to the
recipient, and if the imparter of it is aware that the recipient knows
it just as well as he does,--"thank you _for nothing_" is, we think, the
mildest reply that could be made in the circumstances. The fact is, that
the value of truth is measured by precisely the same standard which
determines the value of wealth. This standard is in neither case the
importance of the article,--it is always its difficulty of
attainment,--its cost of production. Has _labour_ been expended on its
formation or acquisition; then the article, if a material commodity, has
a value in exchange--if a truth, it has a value in communication. Has no
labour been bestowed upon it, and has Nature herself furnished it to
every human being in overflowing abundance, then the thing is altogether
destitute of exchange-value--whether it be an article of matter or of
mind. No man can, without impertinence, transmit or convey such a
commodity to his neighbour.

If this be the law on the subject, (and we conceive that it must be so
ruled) it settles the question as to the _second_ mode of dealing with
the problem of perception. It establishes the point that this method of
treating the problem is not to be permitted. It is _tabooed_ by the very
nature of things. Air and sunshine are excellent and most important
articles, but they are not things to carry to market in
bottles,--because no labour is required to produce them, and because
they are the gratuitous and abundant property of every living soul. In
the same way, the existence of a material universe--and the fact that
we believe in its existence--these are most important truths; but they
are not things to take to market in books, and for a like reason. They
are important things to _know_, but they are not important things to
_tell_. We conceive, in short, that Nature, by rendering these and
similar truths unreservedly patent to the whole human race, has affixed
to them her own contraband,--interdicting their communication; and that
Dr Reid, in making them the staple of his publications, was fighting
against an eternal law. He undertook to teach the world certain truths
connected with perception, which by his own admission the world already
knew just as well as he did--and which required no labour for their
production. This way of going to work with any problem, is certainly not
the best. These remarks settle, we think, the general pretensions of the
philosophy of Common Sense. In justice, however, to this philosophy, we
must not omit to mention, that Sir William Hamilton has adduced the
evidence of no less than one hundred and six witnesses, whose testimony
goes to establish that it is a [Greek: ktêma es aei]--a perpetual
possession, "a _joy_ for ever."

The _first_ and _third_ modes of dealing with our problem remain to be
considered. The first mode ignores the problem altogether, it refuses to
have any thing to do with it. Perhaps this mode is the best of the
three. We will not say that it is not: it is at any rate preferable to
the second. But once admit that philosophy is a legitimate occupation,
and this mode must be set aside, for it is a negation of all philosophy.
Every thing depends upon this admission. But the admission is, we
conceive, a point which has been already, and long ago decided. Men must
and will philosophise. That being the case, the only alternative left
is, that we should discuss the highest problem of philosophy in the
terms of the _third_ mode proposed. We have called this the speculative
method--which means nothing more than that we should expend upon the
investigation the uttermost toil and application of thought; and that we
should estimate the truths which we arrive at, not by the scale of their
importance, but by the scale of their difficulty of attainment,--of
their cost of production. _Labour_, we repeat it, is the standard which
measures the value of truth, as well as the value of wealth.

A still more cogent argument in favour of the strictly speculative
treatment of the problem is this. The problem of perception may be said
to be a _reversed_ problem. What are the means in every other problem,
are in _this_ problem the end--and what is the end in every other
problem, is in this problem the means. In every other problem the
solution of the problem is the end desiderated: the means are the
thinking requisite for its solution. But here the case is inverted. In
_our_ problem the desiderated solution is the means, the end is the
development, or, we should rather say, the creation of speculative
thought--a kind of thought different altogether from ordinary popular
thinking. "Oh! then," some one will perhaps exclaim, "after all, the
whole question about perception resolves it into a _mere gymnastic_ of
the mind." Good sir--do you know what you are saying? Do _you_ think
that the mind itself is any thing except a mere gymnastic of the mind.
If you do--you are most deplorably mistaken. Most assuredly the mind
only _is_ what the mind _does_. The existence of thought is the exercise
of thought. Now if this be true, there is the strongest possible reason
for treating the problem after a purely speculative fashion. The problem
and its desired solution--these are only the means which enable a new
species of thinking, (and that the very highest) viz. speculative
thinking, to deploy into existence. This deployment is the end. But how
can this end be attained if we check the speculative evolution in its
first movements, by throwing ourselves into the arms of the _apparently_
Common Sense convictions of Dr Reid? We use the word "apparently,"
because, in reference to this problem, the apparently Common Sense
convictions of Dr Reid, are not the _really_ Common Sense convictions of
mankind. These latter can only be got at through the severest discipline
of speculation.

Our final answer, then, to the question which led us into this
digression is this:--It is quite true that the material world exists: it
is quite true that we believe in this existence, and always act in
conformity with our faith. Whole books may be written in confirmation of
these truths. They may be published and paraded in a manner which
apparently settles the entire problem of perception. And yet this is not
the right way to go to work. It settles nothing but what all men, women,
and children have already settled. The truths thus formally
substantiated were produced without an effort--every one has already got
from Nature at least as much of them as he cares to have; and therefore,
whatever their importance may be, they cannot, with any sort of
propriety, be made the subjects of conveyance from man to man. We must
either leave the problem altogether alone, (a thing, however, which we
should have thought of sooner,) or we must adopt the speculative
treatment. The argument, moreover, contained in the preceding paragraph,
appears to render this treatment imperative; and accordingly we now
return to it, after our somewhat lengthened digression.

We must take up the thread of our discourse at the point where we
dropped it. The crisis to which the discussion had conducted us was
this; that the existence of matter could not be believed in _at all_.
The psychological analysis necessarily lands us in this conclusion: for
the psychological analysis gives us, for matter, nothing but matter _per
se_. But matter _per se_ is what no man does or can believe in. We are
reluctant to reiterate the proof; but it is this: to believe in the
existence of matter _per se_ is to believe in the existence of matter
liberated from perception; but we, cannot believe in the existence of
matter liberated from perception, for no power of thinking will liberate
matter from perception; therefore, we cannot believe in the existence of
matter _per se_. This argument admits of being exhibited in a still more
forcible form. We commence with an illustration. If a man believes that
a thing exists as one thing, he cannot believe that this same thing
exists as another thing. For instance, if a man believes that a tree
exists as a tree, he cannot believe that it exists as a house. Apply
this to the subject in hand. If a man believes that matter exists as a
thing _not_ disengaged from perception, he cannot believe that it exists
as a thing _disengaged_ from perception. Now, there cannot be a doubt
that the _only_ kind of matter in which man believes is matter _not_
disengaged from perception. He therefore cannot believe in matter
_disengaged_ from perception. His mind is already preoccupied by the
belief that matter is _this one thing_, and, therefore, he cannot
believe that it is _that other thing_. His faith is, in this instance,
forestalled, just as much as his faith is forestalled from believing
that a tree is a house, when he already believes that it is a tree.

There are two very good reasons, then, why we cannot believe in the
existence of matter at all, if we accept as our starting point the
psychological analysis. This analysis gives us, for matter, matter _per
se_. But matter _per se_ cannot be believed in; 1st, because the
condition on which the belief depends cannot be complied with; and,
2dly, because the matter which we _already_ believe in is something
quite different from matter _per se_. In trying to believe in the
existence of matter _per se_, we always find that we are believing in
the existence of _something else_, namely, in the existence of matter
_cum perceptione_. But it is not to the psychological analysis that we
are indebted for this matter, which is something else than matter _per
se_. The psychological analysis does its best to annihilate it. It gives
us nothing but matter _per se_,--a thing which neither is nor can be
believed in. We are thus prevented from believing in the existence of
_any_ kind of matter. In a word, the psychological analysis of the
perception of matter necessarily converts who embrace it into sceptics
or idealists.

In this predicament what shall we do? Shall we abandon the analysis as a
treacherous principle, or shall we, with Dr Reid, make one more stand in
its defence? In order that the analysis may have fair play we shall give
it another chance, by quoting Mr Stewart's exposition of Reid's
doctrine, which must be regarded as a perfectly faithful
representation:--"Dr Reid," says Mr Stewart, "was the first person who
had courage to lay completely aside all the common _hypothetical_
language concerning perception, and to exhibit _the difficulty_, in all
its magnitude, by a plain _statement of the fact_. To what, then, it may
be asked, does this statement amount? Merely to this; that the mind is
so formed that certain impressions produced on our organs of sense, by
external objects, are _followed_ by corresponding sensations, and that
these sensations, (which have no more resemblance to the qualities of
matter, than the words of a language have to the things they denote,)
are _followed_ by a perception of the existence and qualities of the
bodies by which the impressions are made;--that all the steps of this
process are equally incomprehensible."[25] There are at least two points
which are well worthy of being attended to in this quotation. _First_,
Mr Stewart says that Reid "exhibited the difficulty of the problem of
perception, in all its magnitude, by a plain statement of fact." What
does that mean? It means this; that Reid stated, indeed, the fact
correctly--namely, _that_ external objects give rise to sensations and
perceptions, but that still his statement did not penetrate to the heart
of the business, but by his own admission, left the difficulty
undiminished. What difficulty? The difficulty as to _how_ external
objects give rise to sensations and perceptions. Reid did not undertake
to settle that point--a wise declinature, in the estimation of Mr
Stewart. Now Mr Stewart, understanding, as he did, the philosophy of
causation, ought to have known that every difficulty as to _how_ one
thing gives rise to another, is purely a difficulty of the mind's
creation, and not of nature's making, and is, therefore, no difficulty
at all. Let us explain this,--a man says he knows _that_ fire explodes
gunpowder; but he does not know _how_ or by what means it does this.
Suppose, then, he finds out the means, he is still just where he was; he
must again ask how or by what means these discovered means explode the
gunpowder; and so on _ad infinitum_. Now the mind may quibble with
itself for ever, and _make_ what difficulties it pleases in this way;
but there is no _real_ difficulty in the case. In considering any
sequence, we always know the _how_ or the means as soon as we know the
_that_ or the fact. These means may be more proximate or more remote
means, but they are invariably given either proximately or remotely
along with and in the fact. As soon as we know _that_ fire explodes
gunpowder, we know _how_ fire explodes gunpowder,--for fire is itself
the means which explodes gunpowder,--the _how_ by which it is ignited.
In the same way, _if_ we knew that matter gave rise to perception, there
would be no difficulty as to _how_ it did so. Matter would be itself the
means which gave rise to perception. We conceive, therefore, that Mr
Stewart did not consider what he was saying when he affirmed that Reid's
plain statement of facts exhibited _the difficulty_ in all its
magnitude. If Reid's statement _be_ a statement of fact, all difficulty
vanishes,--the question of perception is relieved from every species of
perplexity. If it _be_ the fact that perception is consequent on the
presence of matter, Reid must be admitted to have explained, to the
satisfaction of all mankind, _how_ perception is brought about. Matter
is itself the means by which it is brought about.

_Secondly_, then--Is it the fact that matter gives rise to perception?
That is the question. Is it the fact that these two things stand to each
other in the relation of antecedent and consequent? Reid's "plain
statement of fact," as reported by Mr Stewart, maintains that they do.
Reid lays it down as a fact, that perceptions _follow_ sensations, that
sensations _follow_ certain impressions made on our organs of sense by
external objects, which stand first in the series. The sequence, then,
is this--1_st_, Real external objects; 2_d_, Impressions made on our
organs of sense; 3_d_, Sensations; 4_th_, Perceptions. It will simplify
the discussion if we leave out of account Nos. 2 and 3, limiting
ourselves to the statement that real objects precede perceptions. This
is declared to be a fact--of course an _observed_ fact; for a fact can
with no sort of propriety be called a fact, unless some person or other
has _observed_ it. Reid "laid completely aside all the common
_hypothetical_ language concerning perception." His plain statement (so
says Mr Stewart) contains nothing but facts--facts established, of
course, by observation. It is a fact of observation then, according to
Reid, that real objects precede perceptions; that perceptions follow
when real objects are present. Now, when a man proclaims as fact such a
sequence as this, what must he first of all have done? He must have
observed the antecedent _before_ it was followed by the consequent; he
must have observed the cause out of combination with the effect;
otherwise his statement is a pure hypothesis or fiction. For instance,
when a man says that a shower of rain (No. 1), is followed by a
refreshed vegetation (No. 2), he must have observed both No. 1 and No.
2, and he must have observed them as two separate things. Had he never
observed any thing but No. 2 (the refreshed vegetation), he might form
what conjectures he pleased in regard to its antecedent, but he never
could lay it down _as an observed fact_, that this antecedent was a
shower of rain. In the same way, when a man affirms it to be a fact of
observation (as Dr Reid does, according to Stewart) that material
objects are _followed_ by perceptions, it is absolutely necessary for
the credit of his statement that he should have observed this to be the
case; that he should have observed material objects before they were
followed by perceptions; that he should have observed the antecedent
separate from the consequent: otherwise his statement, instead of being
complimented as a plain statement of fact, must be condemned as a
tortuous statement of hypothesis. Unless he has observed No. 1 and No. 2
in sequence, he is not entitled to declare that this is an observed
sequence. Now, did Reid, or did any man ever observe matter anterior to
his perception of it? Had Reid a faculty which enabled him to catch
matter before it had passed in to perception? Did he ever observe it, as
Hudibras says, "undressed?" Mr Stewart implies that he had such a
faculty. But the notion is preposterous. No man can observe matter prior
to his perception of it; for his observation of it presupposes his
perception of it. Our observation of matter _begins_ absolutely with the
perception of it. Observation always gives the perception of matter as
the _first_ term in the series, and not matter itself. To pretend (as
Reid and Stewart do) that observation can go behind perception, and lay
hold of matter before it has given rise to perception--this is too
ludicrous a doctrine to be even mentioned; and we should not have
alluded to it, but for the countenance which it has received from the
two great apostles of common sense.

This last bold attempt, then, on the part of Reid and Stewart (for
Stewart adopts the doctrine which he reports) to prop their tottering
analysis on direct observation and experience, must be pronounced a
failure. Reid's "plain statement of fact" is not a _true_ statement of
_observed_ fact; it is a vicious statement of _conjectured_ fact.
Observation depones to the existence of the perception of matter as the
first _datum_ with which it has to deal, but it depones to the existence
of nothing anterior to this.

But will not abstract thinking bear out the analysis by yielding to us
matter _per se_ as a legitimate inference of reason? No; it will do
nothing of the kind. To make good this inference, observe what abstract
thinking must do. It must bring under the notice of the mind matter _per
se_ (No. 1) as something which is _not_ the perception of it (No. 2):
but whenever thought tries to bring No. 1 under the notice of the mind,
it is No. 2 (or the perception of matter) which invariably comes. We may
ring for No. 1, but No. 2 always answers the bell. We may labour to
construe a tree _per se_ to the mind, but what we always _do_ construe
to the mind is the perception of a tree. What we want is No. 1, but what
we always get is No. 2. To unravel the thing explicitly--the manner in
which we impose upon ourselves is this:--As explanatory of the
perceptive process, we construe to our minds _two number twos_, and one
of these we _call_ No. 1. For example, we have the perception of a tree
(No. 2); we wish to think the tree itself (No. 1) as that which gives
rise to the perception. But this No. 1 is merely No. 2 over again. _It_
is thought of as the perception of a tree, _i. e._ as No. 2. We _call_
it the tree itself, or No. 1; but we _think_ it as the perception of the
tree, or as No. 2. The first or explanatory term (the matter _per se_)
is merely a repetition in thought (though called by a different name) of
the second term--the term to be explained--viz. the perception of
matter. Abstract thinking, then, equally with direct observation,
refuses to lend any support to the analysis; for a thing cannot be said
to be analysed when it is merely multiplied or repeated, which is all
that abstract thinking does in regard to the perception of matter. The
matter _per se_, which abstract thinking supposes that it separates from
the perception of matter, is merely an iteration of the perception of

Our conclusion therefore is, that the analysis of the perception of
matter into the two things, perception and matter (the ordinary
psychological principle), must, on all accounts, be abandoned. It is
both treacherous and impracticable.

Before proceeding to consider the metaphysical solution of the problem,
we shall gather up into a few sentences the reasonings which in the
preceding discussion are diffused over a considerable surface. The
ordinary, or psychological doctrine of perception, reposes upon an
analysis of the perception of matter into two separate things,--a
modification of our minds (the one thing) consequent on the presence of
matter _per se_, which is the other thing. This analysis inevitably
leads to a theory of representative perception, because it yields as its
result a proximate and a remote object. It is the essence of
representationism to recognise both of these as instrumental in
perception. But representationism leads to scepticism--for it is
possible that the remote or real object (matter _per se_), not being an
object of consciousness, may not be instrumental in the process.
Scepticism doubts its instrumentality, and, doubting its
instrumentality, it, of course, doubts its existence; for not being an
object of consciousness, its existence is only postulated in order to
account for something which _is_ an object of consciousness, viz.
perception. If, therefore, we doubt that matter has any hand in bringing
about perception, we, of course, doubt the existence of matter. This
scepticism does. Idealism denies its instrumentality and existence. In
these circumstances what does Dr Reid do? He admits that matter _per se_
is not an object of consciousness; but he endeavours to save its
existence by an appeal to our natural and irresistible belief in its
existence. But scepticism and idealism doubt and deny the existence of
matter _per se_, not merely because it is no object of consciousness,
but, moreover, because it is no object of belief. And in this they are
perfectly right. It _is_ no object of belief. Dr Reid's appeal,
therefore, goes for nothing. He has put into the witness-box a
nonentity. And scepticism and idealism are at any rate for the present
reprieved. But do not scepticism and idealism go still further in their
denial--do they not extend it from a denial in the existence of matter
_per se_, to a denial in the existence of matter altogether? Yes, and
they must do this. They can only deal with the matter which the
psychological analysis affords. The only kind of matter which the
psychological analysis affords is matter _per se_, and it affords this
as all matter whatsoever. Therefore, in denying the existence of matter
_per se_, scepticism and idealism must deny the existence of matter out
and out. This, then, is the legitimate _terminus_ to which the accepted
analysis conducts us. We are all, as we at present stand, either
sceptics or idealists, every man of us. Shall the analysis, then, be
given up? Not if it can be substantiated by any good plea: for _truth_
must be accepted, be the consequences what they may. Can the analysis,
then, be made good either by observation or by reasoning,--the only
competent authorities, now that belief has been declared _hors de
combat_? Stewart says that Reid made it good by means of direct
observation; but the claim is too ridiculous to be listened to for a
single instant. We have also shown that reasoning is incompetent to make
out and support the analysis; and therefore our conclusion is, that it
falls to the ground as a thing altogether impracticable as well as
false, and that the attempt to re-establish it ought never, on any
account, to be renewed.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have dwelt so long on the exposition of the psychological or analytic
solution of the problem of perception, that we have but little space to
spare for the discussion of the metaphysical doctrine. We shall unfold
it as briefly as we can.

The principle of the metaphysical doctrine is precisely the opposite of
the principle of the psychological doctrine. The one attempts all
analysis; the other forbears from all analysis of the given fact--the
perception of matter. And why does metaphysic make no attempt to dissect
this fact? Simply because the thing cannot be done. The fact yields not
to the solvent of thought: it yields not to the solvent of observation:
it yields not to the solvent of belief, for man has no belief in the
existence of matter from which perception (present and remembered) has
been withdrawn. An impotence of the mind does indeed apparently resolve
the supposed synthesis: but essential thinking exposes the imposition,
restores the divided elements to their pristine integrity, and
extinguishes the theory which would explain the _datum_ by means of the
concurrence of a subjective or mental, and an objective or material
factor. The convicted weakness of psychology is thus the root which
gives strength to metaphysic. The failure of psychology affords to
metaphysic a foundation of adamant. And perhaps no better or more
comprehensive description of the object of metaphysical or speculative
philosophy could be given than this,--that it is a science which exists,
and has at all times existed, chiefly for the purpose of exposing the
vanity and confounding the pretensions of what is called the "science of
the human mind." The turning-round of thought from psychology to
metaphysic is the true interpretation of the Platonic conversion of the
soul from ignorance to knowledge--from mere opinion to certainty and
satisfaction: in other words, from a discipline in which the thinking is
only _apparent_, to a discipline in which the thinking is _real_.
Ordinary observation does not reveal to us the real, but only the
apparent revolutions of the celestial orbs. We must call astronomy to
our aid if we would reach the truth. In the same way, ordinary or
psychological thinking may show us the apparent movements of
thought--but it is powerless to decipher the real figures described in
that mightier than planetary scheme. Metaphysic alone can teach us to
read aright the intellectual skies. Psychology regards the universe of
thought from the Ptolemaic point of view, making man, as this system
made the earth, the centre of the whole: metaphysic regards it from the
Copernican point of view, making God, as this scheme makes the sun, the
regulating principle of all. The difference is as great between "the
science of the human mind" and metaphysic, as it is between the
Ptolemaic and the Copernican astronomy, and it is very much of the same

But the opposition between psychology and metaphysic, which we would at
present confine ourselves to the consideration of, is this:--the
psychological blindness consists in supposing that the analysis so often
referred to is practicable, and has been made out: the metaphysical
insight consists in seeing that the analysis is null and impracticable.
The superiority of metaphysic, then, does not consist in doing, or in
attempting more than psychology. It consists in seeing that psychology
proposes to execute, the impossible, (a thing which psychology does not
herself see, but persists in attempting;) and it consists, moreover, in
refraining from this audacious attempt, and in adopting a humbler, a
less adventurous, and a more circumspect method. Metaphysic (viewed in
its ideal character) aims at nothing but what it can fully overtake. It
is quite a mistake to imagine that this science proposes to carry a man
beyond the length of his tether. The psychologist, indeed, launches the
mind into imaginary spheres; but metaphysic binds it down to the fact,
and there sternly bids it to abide. _That_ is the profession of the
metaphysican, considered in his beau-ideal. That, too, is the practice
(making allowance for the infirmities incident to humanity, and which
prevent the ideal from ever being perfectly realised)--the practice of
all the true astronomers of thought, from Plato down to Schelling and
Hegel. If these philosophers accomplish more than the psychologist, it
is only because they attempt much less.

In taking up the problem of perception all that metaphysic demands is
the _whole_ given fact. That is her only postulate. And it is
undoubtedly a stipulation which she is justly entitled to make. Now,
what is, in this case, the _whole_ given fact? When we perceive an
object, what is the whole given fact before us? In stating it, we must
not consult elegance of expression: the whole given fact is this,--"We
apprehend the perception of an object." The fact before us is
comprehended wholly in that statement, but in nothing short of it. Now,
does metaphysic give no countenance to an analysis of this fact? That is
a new question--a question on which we have not yet touched.
Observe,--the fact which metaphysic declares to be absolutely
unsusceptible of analysis is "the perception of matter." But the fact
which we are now considering is a totally different fact: it is _our
apprehension of_ the perception of matter--and it does not follow that
metaphysic will also declare this fact to be ultimate and
indecompoundable. Were metaphysic to do this, it would reduce us to the
condition of subjective or egoistic idealism. But metaphysic is not so
absurd. It denies the divisibility of the one fact; but it does itself
divide the other. And it is perfectly competent for metaphysic to do
this, inasmuch as "our apprehension of the perception of matter" is a
different fact from "the perception of matter itself." The former is, in
the estimation of metaphysic, susceptible of analysis--the latter is
not. Metaphysic thus escapes the imputation of leading us into
subjective idealism. This will become more apparent as we proceed.

"Our apprehension of the perception of matter,"--this, then, is the
whole given fact with which metaphysic has to deal. And this fact
metaphysic proceeds to analyse into a subjective and an objective
factor--giving to the human mind that part of the _datum_ which belongs
to the human mind, and withholding from the human mind that part of the
_datum_ to which it has no proper or exclusive claim. But at what point
in the _datum_ does metaphysic insert the dissecting knife, or introduce
the solvent which is to effect the proposed dualisation? At a very
different point from that at which psychology insinuates her
"ineffectual fire." Psychology cuts down between perception and matter,
making the former subjective and the latter objective. Metaphysic cuts
down between "our apprehension"--and "the perception of matter;" making
the latter, "the perception of matter," totally objective, and the
former, "our apprehension," alone subjective. Admitting, then, that the
total fact we have to deal with is this, "our apprehension of the
perception of matter"--the difference of treatment which this fact
experiences at the hand of psychology and metaphysic is this:--they both
divide the fact; but psychology divides it as follows;--"Our
apprehension of the perception of"--that is the subjective part of the
_datum_--the part that belongs to the human mind;--"Matter _per se_" is
the objective part of the _datum_, the part of the _datum_ which exists
independently of the human mind. Metaphysic divides it at a different
point, "our apprehension of:" this, according to metaphysic, is the
subjective part of the process--it is all which can with any propriety
be attributed to the human mind:--"the perception of matter," this is
the objective part of the _datum_--the part of it which exists
independently of the human mind--and to the possession of which the
human mind has no proper claim--no title at all.

Before explaining what the grounds are which authorise metaphysic in
making a division so different from the psychological division of the
fact which they both discuss, we shall make a few remarks for the
purpose of extirpating, if possible, any lingering prejudice which may
still lurk in the reader's mind in favour of the psychological

According to metaphysic, the perception of matter is not the whole
given fact with which we have to deal in working out this problem--(it
is not the whole given fact; for, as we have said, our apprehension of,
or participation in, the perception of matter--this is the whole given
fact);--but the perception of matter is the _whole objective_ part of
the given fact. But it will, perhaps, be asked--Are there not here two
given facts? Does not the perception of matter imply two _data_? Is not
the perception one given fact, and is not the matter itself another
given fact--and are not these two facts perfectly distinct from one
another? No: it is the false analysis of psychologists which we have
already exposed that deceives us. But there is another circumstance
which, perhaps, contributes more than any thing else to assist and
perpetuate our delusion. This is the construction of language. We shall
take this opportunity to put the student of philosophy upon his guard
against its misleading tendency.

People imagine that because two (or rather three) words are employed to
denote the fact, (the perception of matter,) that therefore there are
two separate facts and thoughts corresponding to these separate words.
But it is a great mistake to suppose that the analysis of facts and
thoughts necessarily runs parallel with the analysis of sounds. Man, as
Homer says, is [Greek: merops], or a word-divider; and he often carries
this propensity so far as to divide words where there is no
corresponding division of thoughts or of things. This is a very
convenient practice, in so far as the ordinary business of life is
concerned: for it saves much circumlocution, much expenditure of sound.
But it runs the risk of making great havoc with scientific thinking; and
there cannot be a doubt that it has helped to confirm psychology in its
worst errors, by leading the unwary thinker to suppose that he has got
before him a complete fact or thought, when he has merely got before him
a complete word. There are whole words which, taken by themselves, have
no thoughts or things corresponding to them, any more than there are
thoughts and things corresponding to each of the separate syllables of
which these words are composed. The words "perception" and "matter" are
cases in point. These words have no meaning,--they have neither facts
nor thoughts corresponding to them, when taken out of correlation to
each other. The word "perception" must be supplemented (mentally at
least) by the words "of matter," before it has any kind of sense--before
it denotes any thing that exists; and in like manner the word "matter"
must be mentally supplemented by the words "perception of," before it
has any kind of sense, or denotes any real existence. The psychologist
would think it absurd if any one were to maintain that there is one
separate existence in nature corresponding to the syllable _mat-_, and
another separate existence corresponding to the syllable _ter_--the
component syllables of the word "matter." In the estimation of the
metaphysician, it is just as ridiculous to suppose that there is an
existing fact or modification in us corresponding to the three syllables
_perception_, and a fact or existence in nature corresponding to the two
syllables _matter_. The word "perception" is merely part of a word
which, for convenience' sake, is allowed to represent the whole word;
and so is the word "matter." The word "perception-of-matter" is always
the one total word--the word to the mind,--and the existence which this
word denotes is a totally objective existence.

But in these remarks we are reiterating (we hope, however, that we are
also enforcing) our previous arguments. No power of the mind can divide
into two facts, or two existences, or two thoughts, that one prominent
fact which stands forth in its integrity as the perception-of-matter.
Despite, then, the misleading construction of language--despite the
plausible artifices of psychology, we must just accept this fact as we
find it,--that is, we must accept it indissoluble and entire, and we
must keep it indissoluble and entire. We have seen what psychology
brought us to by tampering with it, under the pretence of a spurious,
because impracticable analysis.

We proceed to exhibit the grounds upon which the metaphysician claims
for the perception of matter a totally objective existence. The question
may be stated thus: Where are we to place this _datum_? in our minds or
_out of_ our minds? We cannot place part of it in our own minds, and
part of it out of our minds, for it has been proved to be not subject to
partition. Whereever we place it, then, there must we place it whole and
undivided. Has the perception of matter, then, its proper location in
the human mind, or has it not? Does its existence depend upon our
existence, or has it a being altogether independent of us?

Now that, and that alone, is the point to decide which our natural
belief should be appealed to; but Dr Reid did not see this. His appeal
to the conviction of common sense was premature. He appealed to this
belief without allowing scepticism and idealism to run their full
course; without allowing them to confound the psychological analysis,
and thus bring, us back to a better condition by compelling us to accept
the fact, not as given in the spurious analysis of man, but as given in
the eternal synthesis of God. The consequence was, that Reid's appeal
came to naught. Instead of interrogating our belief as to the objective
existence of the perception of matter, (the proper question,) the
question which he brought under its notice was the objective existence
of matter _per se_--matter _minus_ perception. Now, matter _per se_, or
_minus_ perception, is a thing which no belief will countenance. Reid,
however, could not admit this. Having appealed to the belief, he was
compelled to distort its evidence in his own favour, and to force it, in
spite of itself, to bear testimony to the fact which he wished it to
establish. Thus Dr Reid's appeal not only came to naught, but being
premature, it drove him, as has been said and shown, to falsify the
primitive convictions of our nature. Scepticism must indeed be terrible,
when it could thus hurry an honest man into a philosophical falsehood.

The question, then, which we have to refer to our natural belief, and
abide the answer whatever it may be, is this:--Is the perception of
matter (taken in its integrity, as it must be taken,) is it a
modification of the human mind, or is it not? We answer unhesitatingly
for ourselves, that _our_ belief is, that it is not. This "confession of
faith" saves us from the imputation of subjective idealism, and we care
not what other kind of idealism we are charged with. We can think of no
sort of evidence to prove that the perception of matter is a
modification of the human mind, or that the human mind is its proper and
exclusive abode: and all our belief sets in towards the opposite
conclusion. Our primitive conviction, when we do nothing to pervert it,
is that the perception of matter is not, either wholly, or in part, a
condition of the human soul; is not bounded in any direction by the
narrow limits of our intellectual span, but that it "dwells apart," a
mighty and independent system, a city fitted up and upheld by the
everlasting God. Who told us that we were placed in a world composed of
matter, which gives rise to our subsequent internal perceptions of it,
and not that we were let down at once into a universe composed of
external perceptions of matter, that were there beforehand and from all
eternity--and in which we, the creatures of a day, are merely allowed to
participate by the gracious Power to whom they really appertain? We,
perversely philosophising, told ourselves the former of these
alternatives; but our better nature, the convictions that we have
received from God himself, assure us that the latter of them is the
truth. The latter is by far the simpler, as well as by far the sublimer
doctrine. But it is not on the authority either of its simplicity or its
sublimity, that we venture to propound it--it is on account of its
perfect consonance, both with the primitive convictions of our
unsophisticated common sense, and with the more delicate and complex
evidence of our speculative reason.

When a man consults his own nature, in an impartial spirit, he
inevitably finds that his genuine belief in the existence of matter is
not a belief in the independent existence of matter _per se_--but is a
belief in the independent existence of the perception of matter which he
is for the time participating in. The very last thing which he naturally
believes in, is, that the perception is a state of his own mind, and
that the matter is something different from it, and exists apart _in
naturâ rerum_. He they _say_ that he believes this, but he never does
really believe it. At any rate, he believes in the _first_ place that
they exist _together_, wherever they exist. The perception which a man
has of a sheet of paper, does not come before him as something distinct
from the sheet of paper itself. The two are identical: they are
indivisible: they are not two, but one. The only question then is,
whether the perception of a sheet of paper (taken as it must be in its
indissoluble totality) is a state of the man's own mind--or is no such
state. And, in settlement of this question, there cannot be a doubt that
he believes in the _second_ place, that the perception of a sheet of
paper is not a modification of his own mind, but is an objective thing
which exists altogether independent of him, and one which would still
exist, although he, and all other created beings were annihilated. All
that he believes to be his (or subjective) is _his participation in_ the
perception of this object. In a word, it is the perception of matter,
and not matter _per se_, which is the _kind_ of matter, in the
independent and permanent existence of which man rests and reposes his
belief. There is no truth or satisfaction to be found in any other

This metaphysical theory of perception is a doctrine of pure
intuitionism: it steers clear of all the perplexities of
representationism; for it gives us in perception only one--that is, only
a proximate object: this object is the perception of matter,--and this
is one indivisible object. It is not, and cannot be, split into a
proximate and a remote object. The doctrine, therefore, is proof against
all the cavils of scepticism. We may add, that the entire objectivity of
this _datum_ (which the metaphysical doctrine proclaims) makes it proof
against the imputation of idealism,--at least of every species of absurd
or objectionable idealism.

But what are these objective perceptions of matter, and to whom do they
belong? This question leads us to speak of the circumstance which
renders the metaphysical doctrine of perception so truly valuable. This
doctrine is valuable chiefly on account of the indestructible foundation
which it affords to the _à priori_ argument in favour of the existence
of God. The substance of the argument is this,--matter is the perception
of matter. The perception of matter does not belong to man; it is no
state of the human mind,--man merely participates in it. But it must
belong to some mind,--for perceptions without an intelligence in which
they inhere are, inconceivable and contradictory. They must therefore be
the property of the Divine mind; states of the everlasting intellect;
_ideas_ of the Lord and Ruler of all things, and which come before us as
_realities_,--so forcibly do they contrast themselves with the
evanescent and irregular ideas of our feeble understandings. We must,
however, beware, above all things, of regarding these Divine ideas as
_mere_ ideas. An idea, as usually understood, is that from which all
reality has been abstracted; but the perception of matter is a Divine
idea, from which the reality has not been abstracted, and from which it
cannot be abstracted.

But what, it will be asked--what becomes of the senses if this doctrine
be admitted? What is their use and office? Just the same as
before,--only with this difference, that whereas the psychological
doctrine teaches that the exercise of the senses is the condition upon
which we are permitted to apprehend objective material things--the
metaphysical doctrine teaches that the exercise of the senses is the
condition upon which we are permitted to apprehend or participate in the
objective perception of material things. There is no real difficulty in
the question just raised; and therefore, with this explanatory hint, we
leave it, our space being exhausted.

Anticipations of this doctrine are to be found in the writings of every
great metaphysician--of every man that ever speculated. It is announced
in the speculations of Malebranche--still more explicitly in those of
Berkeley; but though it forms the substance of their systems, from
foundation-stone to pinnacle, it is not proclaimed with sufficiently
unequivocal distinctness by either of these two great philosophers.
Malebranche made the perception of matter totally objective, and vested
the perception in the Divine mind, as we do. But he erred in this
respect: having made the perception of matter altogether objective, he
analysed it in its objectivity into perception (_idée_) and matter _per
se_. We should rather say that he attempted to do this: and of course he
failed, for the thing, as we have shown, is absolutely impossible.
Berkeley made no such attempt. He regarded the perception of matter as
not only totally objective, but as absolutely indivisible; and therefore
we are disposed to regard him as the greatest metaphysician of his own
country--(we do not mean Ireland; but England, Scotland, and
Ireland)--at the very least.

When this elaborate edition of Reid's works shall be completed--shall
have received its last consummate polish from the hand of its
accomplished editor--we promise to review the many important topics
(partly philosophical and partly physiological) which Sir William
Hamilton has discussed in a manner which is worthy of his own great
reputation, and which renders all compliment superfluous. We are assured
that the philosophical public is waiting with anxious impatience for the
completion of these discussions. In the mean time, we heartily recommend
the volume to the student of philosophy as one of the most important
works which our higher literature contains, and as one from which he
will derive equal gratification and instruction, whether he agrees with
its contents or not.


[22] _The Works of Thomas Reid, D.D._ Edited by SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON,
Bart., Professor of Logic and Metaphysics in the University of
Edinburgh; with Copious Notes and Supplementary Dissertations by the
Editor. Edinburgh: Maclachlan, Stewart, & Co. 1846.

[23] _Among the first._ He was not _the_ first. Berkeley had preceded
him in denouncing most unequivocally the whole theory of
representationism. The reason why Berkeley does not get the credit of
this is, because his performance is even more explicit and cogent than
his promise. He made no phrase about refuting the theory--he simply
refuted it. Reid _said_ the business--but Berkeley _did_ it. The two
greatest and most unaccountable blunders in the whole history of
philosophy are, probably Reid's allegations that Berkeley was a
representationist, and that he was an idealist; understanding by the
word _idealist_, one who denies the existence of a real external
universe. From every page of his writings, it is obvious that Berkeley
was neither the one of these nor the other, even in the remotest degree.

[24] _They err._--This, however, can scarcely be called an error. It is
the business of the sceptic at least to accept the principles generally
recognised, and to develop their conclusions, however absurd or
revolting. If the principles are false to begin with, that is no fault
of his, but of those at whose hands he received them.

[25] _Elements of the Philosophy of the Human Mind_. Part I. ch. i.

       *       *       *       *       *

NOTE _in reference to an Article in our last Number, and to_ PROFESSOR
WILSON'S _Letter to the Editor of the Edinburgh Evening Courant, dated
30th June._

MESSRS BLACKWOOD regret to find that some observations regarding the
University of Edinburgh, contained in an article in their last Number,
should have occasioned feelings of pain and disapprobation in one of
their earliest and best supporters, Professor Wilson, of whose connexion
with the Magazine they are justly proud, and whose friendship they hope
ever to retain undiminished.

These observations did not at the time appear to them in the aspect in
which they now see that they may be regarded. They were fully assured of
the meaning and motives of the writer of the article in question, and
conscious themselves of the deepest respect and admiration for the
University of Edinburgh.

They are now, however, sensible that the passage referred to was liable
to objections which they know had not occurred to the writer of the
article, but which they, as the parties who have all along been
responsible for the management of the Magazine, ought to have seen and

They deeply regret that through this error upon their part Professor
Wilson should have felt it necessary to disclaim what had thus
inadvertently been allowed to appear in their pages.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Printed by William Blackwood and Sons, Edinburgh._

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 62, No. 382, October 1847" ***

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